Health Service Executive (Ireland)

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Health Service Executive
Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte
File:Health Service Executive logo.svg
Publicly funded health service overview
Formed 1 January 2005
Preceding Publicly funded health service
Jurisdiction Ireland
Headquarters Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland
Employees 100,000
Annual budget €13 billion
Publicly funded health service executives
  • Tony O'Brien, Director General
  • Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman
Parent department Department of Health

The Health Service Executive (HSE) (Irish: Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte) is responsible for the provision of 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.

HSE services

The HSE provides health and social services to everyone living in Ireland. Its services are delivered in hospitals, health facilities and in communities across the country.

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.

Addiction services, disability services are listed, along with environmental health, public health, and sexual health services. Mental health services are undergoing significant reform at the moment.

The HSE also provides an information service by telephone, that is open from 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:[1]

  • 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)

HSE regions

The HSE delivers its services through fifty public hospitals and thirty-two local health offices nationwide. The HSE is divided into four regions:

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[2][3] 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.[4][5] 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.[6]

In March 2010, it emerged that 58,000 X-Ray radiographs had not been reviewed by a consultant radiologist.[7] An independent report into this incident at Tallaght Hospital was 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.[8] The HSE has since announced a new online system for medical card applications that will reduce turnaround time for routine applications to 15 days.[9]

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.[10]

See also


  4. "Family demands HSE apology over misdiagnosis". The Irish Times. 22 September 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Up to seven families to be contacted by HSE". 1 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "HSE progress is slow but more patients are not waiting longer".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "HSE confirms investigation into Tallaght x-ray scandal". Breaking News. 3 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Major delays with medical card scheme". 22 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links