Health Service Executive CEO Stephen Mulvany has said that the planned new Regional Health Areas (RHAs) will have budget autonomy and "a large degree" of staffing autonomy.

He said that RHAs will have a large amount of autonomy regarding the number and type of staff they recruit, provided they operate within their overall budget and deliver the outputs, outcomes and objectives for which they have been funded.

He told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health today that the RHA chiefs will have direct access to meetings of the HSE Executive Management Team and they will also have direct access to the HSE CEO.

He said that RHAs will provide input to and have influence over what agreed set of nationally consistent integrated services and objectives are to be delivered for patients.

Department of Health Secretary General Robert Watt said that a plan is being prepared to set out the organisation and governance of RHAs and the relative roles of the regions, HSE National and the Department of Health.

He said that the plan will set out a critical path for implementation through 2023 and 2024.