Government will discuss return of regional health boards today

Cabinet Ministers are set to approve a major restructure of the HSE this morning.

It would establish six regional healthcare centres instead of the current centralised system.

It would be the most significant shake up of the HSE’s structures since it was founded in 2005 – and ironically returns to a similar system to the one it replaced.

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The idea was the HSE would cut down on repetition of services and make things more efficient but that hasn’t happened.

Now six regional health boards will be set up, likely in rough geographical lines with the current hospital groups system.

Each will have its own budget based on the population of the area it covers.

They will take over more power – allowing doctors and management in the regions more say over what happens locally.

The government hopes it will improve accountability and governance and provide greater accountability while empowering frontline staff.

There are more details yet to be announced on how these regional boards will be structured, whether redundancies will be needed in areas that double up, and how long it will take to phase in.

The move is part of Slaintecare, the 10 year plan for the health service, and has broad support across political parties.