(CNS): One of the many pieces of legislation that government plans to steer through the Legislative Assembly next month is a small but nevertheless significant change that government hopes will help it keep a tighter rein on the hospital. The Health Services Authority Law (2016) Revision, which was published on the government gazette earlier this month, increases the membership of the hospital board from seven to 11 directors, with the inclusion of two members from core government and two hospital officials.
If the legislation passes, the new board will include seven appointed members, who will be picked for their relevant expertise, “demonstrating substantial knowledge and experience in specified areas”, the proposed law states. But they will now sit on a Health Services Authority Board that includes the chief officers from the health ministry and the finance ministry, as well as the HSA’s chief executive officer and medical director.
Officials from the government said the appointment of chief officers is being proposed to improve and formalise communication between the HSA and the health and finance ministries.
“It is important that we facilitate the interaction between the Health Services Authority and the Ministries of Health and Finance to keep abreast of ongoing work,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is responsible for health.
The HSA has been plagued with problems since its creation but both its major fiscal challenges and the revelations during the fraud trial of the former board chair, Canover Watson, make it clear that government lost control of this authority.
Roy McTaggart, who is the councillor in the ministry, said it was important that Cabinet was involved in the overall process.
“This change in the membership on the Health Services Authority Board will improve the manner in which this board functions and should help to avoid mistakes of the past,” he said.