Health Service Executive
|Headquarters||Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8|
Ambrose McLoughlin (Chairman)
|Revenue||€13 billion Euro (2010)|
The Health Service Executive (HSE) (Irish: Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte) is responsible for the provision of healthcare providing health and personal social services for everyone living in Ireland, with public funds. The Executive was established by the Health Act, 2004 and came into official operation on 1 January 2005. It replaces the ten regional Health Boards, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and a number of other different agencies and organisations. The Minister for Health has overall responsibility for the Executive in Government. The HSE is Ireland's largest employer with over 67,000 direct employees, and another 40,000 in funded health care organisations. It has an annual budget of over €13 billion, more than any other public sector organisation.
The HSE provides health and social services to everyone living in Ireland. Its services are delivered to young and old, in hospitals, health facilities and in communities across the country. The HSE website at www.hse.ie provides a wide range of information on the services provided, and information on how to access them.
The site provides a list of every public hospital in Ireland, along with the 8 designated Cancer Centres, in Hospitals & Cancer Control. If you are looking for any Urgent Care or Out of Hours Services you will find many listed. The wide range of care services provided in the community are available through the 32 Local Health Offices nationwide – the first port of call for community care in Ireland. Information is provided about Primary Care and the HSE's new primary care centres, which are opening all over the country and will be the future of the Irish health system.
You can read about older people services, or find forms and details for many benefits and schemes, including medical cards and the Drugs Payment Scheme. Contacts are provided for a wide range of children and family services, including child health and child protection services. The Births, Deaths, Marriages section show you how to register an event, or even buy a certificate online.
Addiction services, disability services are listed, along with environmental health, public health, and sexual health services. Mental health services are undergoing significant transformation at the moment, and you can read about those changes. Finally, if you are wondering who can access health services in Ireland, details are provided on eligibility for health services.
The HSE also provides an information service by telephone, the HSE INFOLINE, callsave 1850 24 1850, open Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm.
The HSE's organisational structure is divided into some key areas:
- Integrated Services, which includes services delivering care in the community and acute hospital and ambulance services
- Quality and Clinical Care, which provides clinical leadership, national clinical services and quality and performance programmes
- Support Services, like HR, Finance, Communications, Estates and ICT, which enable the HSE to function efficiently and cost effectively.
Board of directors
The members of the New Interim HSE Board, as of 17 February 2013, were:
- Dr. Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman and Secretary General, Department of Health,
- Mr. Tony O’Brien, Deputy CEO/Director General Designate, HSE
- Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
- Mr. Paul Barron, Assistant Secretary, Primary Care & Eligibility Division, Department of Health
- Ms. Bairbre NicAongusa, Assistant Secretary, Finance, Performance Evaluation, Information, EU International, Research & Resource Allocation Division, Dept of Health.
- Dr. Aine Carroll, HSE National Director, Clinical Strategy & Programmes (replaced Dr. Barry White)
- Dr. Philip Crowley, HSE National Director, Quality & Patient Safety
- Ms. Laverne McGuinness, HSE National Director, Integrated Services – Performance & Financial Management
- Mr. Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
- Ms. Frances Spillane, Assistant Secretary, National Human Resources and Professional Regulation Division,Department of Health
- Ms. Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health (replaced Mr. Brian Gilroy, former HSE National Director, Integrated Services – Reconfiguration)
The HSE delivers its services through fifty public hospitals and thirty-two local health offices nationwide. The HSE is divided into four regions:
- HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster – (County Kildare, County Laois, County Longford, County Offaly, County Westmeath, County Wicklow and South Dublin)
- HSE Dublin North East – (County Cavan, County Louth, County Meath, County Monaghan and North Dublin)
- HSE South – (County Carlow, County Cork, County Kerry, County Kilkenny, County Waterford, County Wexford and South Tipperary)
- HSE West – (County Clare, County Donegal, County Galway, County Leitrim, County Limerick, County Mayo, County Roscommon, County Sligo and North Tipperary)
Each region is headed by a Regional Director of Operations, who is responsible for managing all services in that area.
News and criticism
The HSE is the subject of daily news reporting, and despite frequent negative media coverage they have yet to be disbanded The HSE is working to modernise and improve how healthcare is delivered in Ireland, through the extension of the amount of care provided in the community, rather than in hospital, and also through the initiation of a wide range of clinical programmes. These clinical programme are led by hospital consultants, and are going to standardise the approach to our most grave and common healthcare challenges, like heart disease, diabetes and others.
The HSE is frequently portrayed by the Irish media as an inefficient, top-heavy and excessively bureaucratic organisation. Like any healthcare system across the world, the Irish health system has been involved in a number of serious health scandals, for example relating to cancer misdiagnoses in 2008. The HSE has also been the subject of criticism for cutbacks, service cancellations etc., but has recently indicated that it is making good progress in saving costs and achieving its required 'break-even' budget position for 2010.
In March 2010, it emerged that 58,000 X-Ray radiographs had not been reviewed by a consultant radiologist. An independent report into this incident at Tallaght Hospital is due to be published by the HSE during October 2010.
In the same month, the Irish Medical Organisation stated that patients awaiting a HSE medical card were waiting up to six months to receive their card, and that their health was being put at risk as they could not afford medicines that they would have otherwise obtained had they received their card. The HSE has since announced a new online system for medical card applications that will reduce turnaround time for routine applications to 15 days.
In May 2011, key forensic evidence in up to 25 sexual-assault cases may be challenged in court because of a major administrative blunder by the HSE. The victims – some as young as 14 – were told by gardai about the incident, in which a nurse who carried out their forensic tests was unregistered. This could lead to the evidence being challenged.
- Department of Health (Ireland)
- Health Information and Quality Authority
- Maev-Ann Wren, health services analyst and critic
- Chairperson page on HSE Web site
- News page from the HSE Web site
- HSE Factfile