The Irish government has approved the implementation plan for six new Health Service Executive (HSE) Health Regions from February 2024, as part of the Sláintecare reforms.

The aim is to coordinate and deliver health and social care services along regional lines, provide more integrated care for patients and improve service planning and delivery according to local needs.

Current Hospital Group and Community Health Organisation structures will be stood down by the end of next year.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “The HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan has been developed in partnership with health and social care stakeholders from across the sector, and aims to improve our service’s ability to deliver more joined-up care to people when they need it.

“While the transition to Health Regions represents a considerable change to organisational structures, it is important to note that structural change is not the primary objective of this reform.

“These new arrangements aim to improve the health service’s ability to deliver timely, integrated care to patients and service users, planned and funded in line with their needs.”

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According to a statement by the government, further reforms and devolution of authority will occur in 2024 and 2025.

Besides, the plan involves appointing Regional Executive Officers (REOs) as accountable officers at the Health Region level.

These REOs will be tasked with providing services for their respective regions.

Health Service Executive (HSE) CEO Bernard Gloster: “When we talk about ‘integrated care’, this is what we mean.

“In line with the introduction of health regions, I am currently finalising plans for a changed HSE centre and this will add to the overall improvement in governance and leadership of the health service.”