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Health Service Executive


Health and personal social services are delivered by the Health Service Executive (HSE), through medical professionals and hospitals and through a network of Local Health Offices, health centres and clinics at community level.

Health services can be broadly defined as those services that are concerned with the

  • promotion of good health
  • prevention of illness (for example, food safety services, immunisation and vaccinations services, health screening, infant and child health services)
  • the diagnosis and treatment of illness (for example, family doctor (GP) services, hospital services)
Community care and personal social services can be broadly defined as those that are designed to enable people to remain living in their communities, especially when they have difficulties doing so because of illness, disability or age. Examples include home nursing services, home helps, occupational therapy and social work services.

Provision of health and personal social services

The Integrated Services Directorate manages all hospital and community public health services.

The National Director has responsibility for the delivery of all health and personal social services across the country including hospital, primary, community and continuing care services.

The range of health and personal social services provided by the HSE and its funded agencies are managed within four Regions, each with a Regional Directors of Operations.

HSE Administrative Areas

The main function of a HSE Administrative Area is to provide or arrange for the provision of health, community care and personal social services to the people in its area. They provide many of the services directly and they arrange for the provision of other services by health professionals, private health service providers, voluntary hospitals and voluntary/community organisations.

The geographic areas covered by each of the Administrative Areas are;

HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster: Dublin city south of the River Liffey, south Dublin county, Wicklow, Kildare, Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offally

HSE Dublin North East: Dublin City north of the River Liffey, the community of Fingal county, Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan

HSE West: Limerick, Clare, Tipperary (North Riding), Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim

HSE South: Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary (South Riding) Waterford, Wexford, Cork, Kerry

Access to services

The main delivery point for community health and personal social services is through the network of 32 Local Health Offices and local health centres.

The wide range of services that are provided through Local Health Offices and from health centres include general practitioner services, public health nursing, child health services, community welfare, chiropody, ophthalmic, speech therapy, social work, addiction counselling and treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric services and home help.

Access to hospital services is through your GP/family doctor, except for Accident and Emergency services.

Duty of HSE to provide services

The HSE Area is obliged to provide certain services, e.g., family doctor (GP) and public hospital services. There are other services that they may provide, e.g., home helps and other community care services. A significant part of the HSE Area's overall budget is allocated to those services that are obligatory.

The Health Strategy recognises that all decisions whether financial or clinical must be based on the best available evidence. Decisions will be based on:

  • Research findings
  • Statistical qualitative or quantitative data
  • Other documented trends and behaviours.

All HSE Administrative Areas must provide service plans that usually review the previous year's spending and give a detailed breakdown of how funding provided by the HSE will be spent during the year in question. The Department of Health formally sets out a statement of national priorities for health, which is then addressed by the HSE in preparing their individual service plans.

Page edited: 24 April 2013



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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.