Paul Reid wants to see 'more devolved' HSE

New HSE boss Paul Reid wants to see a “more devolved” health system.

Paul Reid wants to see 'more devolved' HSE

New HSE boss Paul Reid wants to see a “more devolved” health system.

He also wants to examine the health authority's “management and overheads” to see how they can be redirected to support frontline services.

During an RTÉ radio interview, Mr Reid was asked if he might consider “a management flattening”.

Mr Reid said the health authority would be moving to more “population-based” health centres as envisaged in the Sláintecare plan.

“We're looking to move to a much more devolved health system across the country – a system that has more decision-making at a local level and a very strong strategic centre.”

Mr Reid said he had been in the top HSE job for almost two months now and found that frontline staff were delivering “pretty good services” under difficult circumstances to the public.

One of his top three priorities for the organisation is the provision of good quality and safe patient services. He also wants to change the way services were delivered and build public trust and confidence.

“One very strong issue running across all of those priorities is how do we bring a level of predictability and stability in terms of the budgets and the finances for the services we deliver,” he said.

Mr Reid said he did not work from the ground up in his working career.

“My first role in Eircom was as an underground cable jointer,” he recalled.

He grew up in Finglas, Dublin, and left school when he was 16 years old after completing his Intermediate Certificate examination.

Mr Reid loved school and considers himself “one of those lucky people” who got a chance to return to education.

He studied at night, gaining a degree in industrial relations and personnel management and a masters in business.

Mr Reid spent 28 years with Eircom working through a lot of different roles before progressing to executive and board level.

He left Eircom to work as head of corporate affairs with Trocaire.

He left the charity to join the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform where he worked as assistant secretary/chief operations manager between 2011 and 2014.

“It was a great time in my career but a very difficult time for the country," said Mr Reid.

Mr Reid had been a trade union official and that helped when he led government negotiations that led to the Haddington Road Agreement.

Mr Reid was an active member of the Workers Party for a few years. Prionsias De Rossa was a local TD and he admired his strong social conscience.

Mr Reid, who was chief executive of Fingal County Council before taking the top job in the HSE, believes every organisation needs a very clear road map for the journey ahead.

“Frontline staff in any organisation want to know the direction you are trying to bring them; they want clarity about where they fit in.” He always aimed to have the right team around him.

When he was in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and in local government there were voluntary redundancy packages that were important at a time of restructuring and realignment.

People who were not too sure of the road that the organisation was taking knew there were redundancy packages available.

Mr Reid said recruiting more hospital consultants was “big challenge” but it was not just an Irish problem, it was an international one. “Last year we recruited 125 consultants so I am very pleased we have a process to continuously recruit more consultants.”

HSE chief executive Paul Reid's views on:

Home Helps

Mr Reid said there is a budget this year of around €440m to deliver almost 18m hours of home help to about 53,000 people.

Asked if he had suspended home help hours to new applicants during an interview on RTÉ radio he replied: "No."

Mr Reid said the €440m being provided for home help this year, was an increase of €140m on the previous year.

They are aiming to deliver all of the home help hours this year as planned, he said.

Nursing Home Supports

Mr Reid said Fair Deal has a €990m budget to support 23,000 people and the four-week turnaround is being met.

He said the spending of taxpayers' money on providing private facilities in the national children's hospital was ultimately a policy decision for government.

Capital Spending

The Summer Economic Statement has provided “better predictability” for the HSE's capital spending plan, Mr Reid said.

“Working on the assumption of that extra funding from government will mean we will deliver the plan exactly as we had set it out for 2019, 2020 and 2021,” he said.

Asked if he would have to curtail any projects, Mr Reid replied that a “very significant” element of the capital plan is committed to in terms of construction projects but admitted that they would have "a smaller level of flexibility".

Mr Reid also said most services within the health system would “come in” on budget and on target delivery.

“The areas particularly under pressure are our acute hospitals and disability services,” he said.

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