A member of the Sláintecare Implementation Council has said there was "no meeting of minds" and that he is "none the wiser" following a meeting with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly this evening.
Liam Doran, a former general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association, described the meeting as frank and professional, but said that he did not leave with any sense of the Minister's or the Government's "preparedness to renew their commitment to Sláintecare".
He said it was a meeting that "left many questions still unanswered and many gaps in our understanding of what has transpired over the last fortnight resulting in two great people walking away".
A key issue of contention, he said, was the view that Sláintecare should be the responsibility of the Department of the Taoiseach.
Mr Doran said that Minister Donnelly indicated he believed Sláintecare should be based in the Department of Health, which he described as a "fundamental difference between us".
Liam Doran, a member of the Sláintecare Implementation Council, has said there was "no meeting of minds" and that he is "none the wiser" following a meeting with the Minister for Health this evening | https://t.co/kCSkm5CdLZ pic.twitter.com/O5PD3JXkcS— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 17, 2021
He said that every member of the SIAC wants Sláintecare to be implemented based on the Oireachtas report in which it was devised, and "not in a revised version depending on what Government is in power".
He added the council will meet collectively next week to see how best it can move forward.
Minister Donnelly had described his meeting with the council this evening as "productive".
In a statement after the talks, he said that a "range of issues around the continued implementation were discussed".
He said he outlined the Government's "commitment to the implementation of Sláintecare" to SIAC and described it as "our roadmap to universal healthcare".
Mr Donnelly also thanked members of SIAC for the support they have given to the Sláintecare Programme Office.
SIAC member Anthony O'Connor said the council valued the opportunity to meet with Minister Donnelly.
He added the council will now consider its position and will meet again itself next week to reflect further on the issues discussed this evening.
Before the meeting, Mr Doran said he thinks if the situation "remains as negative as it is now", then "some members will be considering their position".
It was SIAC's first meeting with the minister since the high-profile resignations of the council's chairperson Professor Tom Keane and Executive Director Laura Magahy last week.
"I can't speak for others but I definitely think many members of the council are looking at their role and waiting to see what the Minister has to say and the events as they unfold in the coming days.
"If the situation remains as negative as it is now, then I think some members of the council will be considering their position," he said.
Mr Doran said the mood among his council colleagues was one of "disappointment, disenchantment and isolation".
He said there was a feeling of despondency that there is the political will to deliver the Sláintecare programme of reform.
He said that "little to no progress" has been made, "despite what the Minister is saying".
Mr Doran said that many of the things that Minister Donnelly says have been progressed "would have happened anyway".
"Many of the things happening, are correctly happening, but they're happening because they're needed or they pre-date Sláintecare".
However he said "very little progress has been made of the substantial issues", the things he said are "fundamental" to Sláintecare that would "change things forever", including regional structures and new contracts for consultants.