Is the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) appropriately structured, and its remit sufficiently broad in scope?
PHECC’s stated mission is to protect the public by specifying, reviewing, maintaining and monitoring standards of excellence for the delivery of quality pre‐hospital emergency care for people in Ireland. It further advises that the precise roles and responsibilities of PHECC are detailed within the relevant Statutory Instruments of 2000, 2004 and the 2007 Health Act.
In brief, we would be concerned that PHECC may be operating outside of the statutory instruments under which it is established, in respect of some of its activities. The website advises that PHECC is the regulator for emergency medical services (EMS) in Ireland, yet we believe that its powers, legal or otherwise, would certainly be less than it would lead organisations, registered practitioners, and the general public to believe. In addition, we believe that, given the significant presence of HSE staff within its structure, and given that it is predominantly legislating with respect to emergency care services, which are almost exclusively provided by the HSE, that it is incapable of being sufficiently independent to allow it to function as such a body should. We also believe that it is providing inadequate information through its primary conduit for members of the public, namely its website, to the extent that the general public would be unable to make informed decisions as to the differences between ambulance services identified on its site.
We have written to PHECC on a number of occasions with respect to our concerns. We have no issue with the establishment of a genuinely independent and impartial regulatory authority, having initiated a campaign seeking regulation over six (6) years ago. However, it must be structured and staffed in a way that allows it to perform its functions without undue influence from any body that it is mandated to regulate. We will issue an update on this matter in due course. In the meantime, please Contact Us if you would like to lend your voice and support to our campaign on this vital matter.