Health Tapes: ‘Big lumps of money sloshing around’ – Robert Watt outlines his concerns over spending at HSE

At a top-level meeting held last January, which the Business Post has obtained a recording of, civil service heavyweight Robert Watt laid out his position on Sláintecare, the health service’s finances and dealing with public sector unions

Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Health: his suggested minimalist approach is likely to cause concern among those who believe Sláintecare is already progressing too slowly. Picture: Collins

Last January, Robert Watt, the secretary general of the Department of Health, organised a meeting with his officials to outline their priorities for the year ahead.

During the hour-long event, the senior civil servant detailed his concern about “big lumps of money sloshing around” in the HSE without oversight, the need for the department to have “sharper elbows” when it came to dealing with health sector unions, and why he believed Sláintecare, the ambitious plans ...