Professor Deirdre Heenan calls for appointment of ‘health czar’


Image: Professor Deirdre Heenan

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan

Professor Deirdre Heenan at a health discussion today in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Belfast called for the appointment of a health czar and hit out at the Outcomes Based Accountability model.

The event, organised by the Policy Forum for Northern Ireland, was titled: ‘The future for healthcare in Northern ireland: Implementing the Delivering Together targets’.

Ms Heenan in a wide-ranging presentation criticised the Outcomes Based Accountability model and argued for the appointment of a health czar to oversee the transformation of the health care system in Northern Ireland.

“In 2016, our Programme for Government was based on Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA). The reality around that system for anyone who has looked at it is that there is no evidence, absolutely no evidence, to suggest that OBA produces outcomes.

“The Programme for Government was not underpinned by policies. We have the highest suicide level in the UK. Wouldn’t you think that would be underpinned by a suicide strategy?

“There is a view that we are running the health system by spreadsheet. We are looking at spreadsheets, we are looking at spending, and we are making decisions based on those spreadsheets. It is totally counter-intuitive. At a high level there must be a vision that we’ve all bought into and someone or some group of people is driving that vision. Not piece-meal bits throughout trusts. Not saying we don’t have the money for innovation.

“I welcome the £1 billion (money secured in the DUP-Conservative Party talks) but in terms of the health service if it’s going to be a sticking plaster, if it’s going to allow us to delay important decisions, actually we would be better off without it. If it’s going to be transformational money I would like to see exactly what is it going to produce and over what time frame.

“Who is going to be held accountable for making those changes? I think a health czar is needed, someone who could come along and say ‘I’m in charge of transformation. You must answer to me about where the changes are made.’ ”

Read our issue on Social Impact which looked at OBA model –


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