Business continuity plans, commonly known as ‘planning for the future’, are expected to be cancelled this week in the wake of the collapse of the government’s healthcare system.
The changes will be rolled out as part of a new Government policy called ‘business continuity’ to ensure the state does not become too dependent on the private sector to meet its needs.
But they are also likely to trigger an outcry from those who say they are a cost-cutting measure that could cost the economy billions.
Speaking on the Sunday Morning Ireland program, Minister of State for Economic Development Paul Kehoe said he would be seeking advice from experts on the costs and benefits of scrapping the plans.
“We will consult with experts on these matters and we will make that decision based on the best evidence available to us,” he said.
Mr Kehoe also said that the Government would continue to consult with the State on what it wanted to do to the existing plans.
He said the plans were “essential” and were a “key part of the strategy for the next decade”.
“They have been very effective in providing the continuity we need in the short and medium term to the recovery,” he added.
“The business continuity plans have served the State well.”
The policy was announced after the Government was forced to abandon plans to create a new national healthcare system after a string of botched delivery and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the private health sector.
It was supposed to be implemented by 2019, but was forced into place in the middle of 2016 due to a collapse in the healthcare sector.
The Department of Health said the plan was designed to provide for the long-term health and wellbeing of all people.
“This will deliver the best possible healthcare for our people and our economy while ensuring the health and well-being of those already here in Ireland,” it said.
“It will also ensure that we have a robust system for delivering quality services and delivering a sustainable long-run return on investment.”
These are the same services that have been delivered in the past, they are part of our business continuity programme.
“Mr Keue told the programme that it was important that people did not become reliant on the Government to provide them with care.”
That is why we will not introduce any new or new-style plans.
We will have a plan for the past,” he told the program.”
When the plan is finished, it will be handed to the State and we’ll look at what it should be.
“If it looks like the plan needs to be changed, then we will do that and the State will take care of it.”
Mr O’Neill also said he wanted to talk to the public about how they felt about the plans, but said that it would be “difficult” for anyone to predict the effect of the change.
“There is so much uncertainty about what the new system might look like and the level of support that might be offered to people,” he insisted.
But I’m not going to get into details.”