Republic of Ireland

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 1 November 2003




(2003), "Republic of Ireland", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 16 No. 6.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Reform of Irish Health System

Keywords: Patient care, Improved health care, Reorganization, Modernization

In June the Irish Government announced the most extensive reform programme of the Health System in over 30 years. The focus of the programme is improved patient care, better value for taxpayers money and improved health care management.

Measures announced in the programme include:

  • a major rationalisation of existing health service agencies which will involve consolidating and amalgamating 32 agencies including the abolition of the existing health board structures;

  • the establishment of a Health Service Executive which will be the first ever body charged with managing and delivering the health service as a single national entity and having three core parts: a National Hospitals Office, a Primary, Community and Continuing Directorate to manage non-hospital services and a National Shared Services Centre;

  • the reorganisation of the Department of Health and Children, to ensure improved policy development, oversight and evaluation of service delivery;

  • the establishment of a Health Information and Quality Authority to ensure that quality and effectiveness of care is promoted throughout the system;

  • the devolution of responsibility for budgets to the people actually in charge of delivering services; and

  • the complete modernisation of supporting processes (service planning, management reporting, etc.) to improve planning and delivery of services.

Further information: Further information about the reform programme can be found on the Department of Health and Children Web site at:, and the full report can be downloaded in pdf format from: