The Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive has said the organisation is highly committed to implementing all aspects Sláintecare, including regionalisation, integration and waiting lists.

Paul Reid told RTÉ's This Week programme that there is "nobody who wants to get into this change agenda more than ourselves and our HSE teams".

He said the public should "take great confidence'" from the HSE's response during the Covid-19 pandemic when it also took opportunities to implement many aspects of the Sláintecare agenda.

Mr Reid said it demonstrated "a very strong capacity to implement change at pace".

He added: "Equally, we do know we have very significant reforms ahead of us to implement, we don't have the health service in the way we want for the public, in the way they deserve."

He said that the HSE was very sad to lose the expertise of Laura Magahy and Professor Tom Keane from the Sláintecare teams.

Mr Reid said there was likely to be frustration when the pandemic delayed some of the reform agenda.

But progress has been made "on some areas including increasing ICU and general bed capacity, giving GPs access to diagnostics and keeping elderly people at home".

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The CEO of the HSE said it was "highly committed" to Sláintecare and is "willing to embrace the structures required to make it happen".

Mr Reid said the design of six regional health authorities is "a significant piece of work that needs to be assessed" and will be prioritised, along with the tackling of waiting lists.

Róisín Shortall, joint leader of the Social Democrats, said there was "institutional resistance to reform in the health service".

She told RTÉ's The Week In Politics: "We are putting €20 billion of public money into the HSE and we are not getting adequate services.

"It's very centralised - we are not getting services tailored to local needs". She also urged that there must be "legal, clinical, accountability for the provision of services".

Eoin Ó Broin from Sinn Féin said there has been "virtually no progress on ending private healthcare in the public health system or the expansion of universal GP care above the age of eight".

He added: "What is very very clear is that we are no closer to the universal, one tier health system that we need. We have more people on hospital waiting lists than when this [Sláintecare] plan was originally agreed."

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton, also speaking on RTÉ's The Week In Politics, said the Government was "committed to the roll-out of Sláintecare. It is an absolute priority."

She said the pandemic, alongside the HSE cyber attack, have had an impact on the roll-out. However, "we have committed €1.2 billion in Budget 2022 for Sláintecare".