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Department of Health


The Government, the Minister for Health and the Department of Health are at the head of health service provision. The Department's main role is to support the Minister in creating and assessing policy for the health services. The Department also has a role in the future planning of health services, in consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), the voluntary sector, other government departments and other interested parties.

Each year, the Department of Health allocates funding to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Each HSE Area then make decisions about how they will distribute available resources to the agencies in their area. The Department takes account of a range of factors in determining what proportion of the funding should be allocated to each HSE Area. These factors include the cost of providing services in the previous year, pay costs, health service developments and funding for agreed specific items.

Organisation of the Department

The Minister for Health has overall constitutional and political responsibility for the Department.

There are two Ministers of State assigned to the Department. Their particular responsibilities are;

  • Primary Care
  • Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People (includes cross-departmental role with the Department of Justice and Equality)

The administrative (Civil Service) head of the Department is the Secretary General. He or she is the "accounting officer". In other words, he or she is responsible to the Dáil for ensuring that the money allocated to the Department is spent in the proper manner.

The Chief Medical Officer advises the Minister and the Department on medical issues.

The following are the main policy sections of the Department. There are a number of other sections dealing with administrative matters.

Main policy sections and offices of the Department of Health

Responsible for

Primary Care, Social Inclusion & Public Health Section
  • Primary care
  • Social inclusion
  • Food, medicines and environmental health
  • Health promotion
  • Public health
Office for Disability and Mental Health
  • Services for people with disabilities
  • Mental health services
Office for Older People
  • Services for older people
  • Long stay charges
Acute Hospitals, Cancer and Associated Services
  • Acute hospital services
  • Waiting lists
  • Ambulance services
  • Cancer strategy
  • Blood policy
Finance, Performance Evaluation, Information and Research
  • Finance
  • External ICT
  • Information management
  • Performance evaluation
  • Research, EU and International
National HR and Workforce Planning
  • Health Reform
  • Medical and Dental
  • Nursing
  • Professional, Management and Support grades
Eligibility and Patient Safety
  • Eligibility review
  • Public/private policy issues and Health Insurance
  • Patient Safety and Quality

Where To Apply

Department of Health

Hawkins House
Hawkins Street
Dublin 2

Tel:+353 1 635 4000
Locall:1890 200 311
Fax:+353 1 635 4001

Page edited: 29 June 2010



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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.