Government have published a Bill to amend the Medical (Gibraltar Health Authority) Act 1987 to provide for changes in the management structure of the Gibraltar Health Authority.
The main change, announced by the Chief Minister during last December’s Parliament, is that the current statutory post of Chief Executive Officer of the GHA will be abolished. The majority of the current functions and duties of the Chief Executive Officer will be performed by the GHA’s Medical Director.
A spokesperson for Govt explained "This change is important for two reasons. First and foremost this strengthens and cements the policy of this Government that the GHA should be clinically led, whereby the most important decisions and roles, including the chairmanship of the GHA Management Board, are made and held not by an administrator but by an experienced consultant-level senior medical professional. Secondly, it places the post of Medical Director, for the first time, on a statutory basis, which the Government believes reflects the importance of this role. This move reflects changes that have been ongoing within the GHA since the retirement of the previous Chief Executive Officer, where there has been a gradual transfer of non-statutory functions and duties to the Medical Director and a greater involvement of the Medical Director in other decision making which in effect is a return to how the health matters had previously been structured in Gibraltar."
The Bill also includes changes to the structure and nomenclature of management posts within the GHA and the creation of a power so that such restructures may be undertaken by means of secondary legislation rather than requiring a Bill. An example of this is the change of the current Unit General Manager post of Hospital Manager, which will be replaced with the post of Operations Manager. "This change will ensure that there is a clear distinction between clinical and non-clinical functions and management lines at the GHA. The Operations Manager will be responsible for facilities management, general operations and front of house at St Bernard’s Hospital and will not be involved in the management of clinical staff or the taking of clinical decisions. The role of Deputy Medical Director will also become a statutory post to allow for continuity on occasions when the Medical Director is unavailable. The Deputy Medical Director will also be a member of the Management Board in his own right."
Furthermore, the Government has included a change to the Care Agency Act in the Bill, which transfers the responsibility for Elderly Residential Care from the Care Agency to the Gibraltar Health Authority. This change better serves the needs of Elderly Residential Care patients.
The Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honorable Neil F. Costa MP said: “The decision to restructure the management of the GHA and, in particular, to abolish the role of Chief Executive and pass the duties and responsibilities of that post to an appropriately experienced senior medical professional was one that was not taken lightly. It’s one, however, which I am sure will have an immediate positive effect on the functioning of the GHA.
“This change, together with the other changes in this Bill, will ensure that the person taking the important decisions in the GHA and chairing the Management Board is a medical professional, and as such will have the medical knowledge and expertise necessary to put the health of patients and the community first.”