Thursday, 13 January 2011
Department of Health and Children
Primary Care Strategy
Question 8: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Report on Primary Medical Care in the Community published on 10 February 2010 by the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1773/11]
I welcomed the publication of the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on Primary Medical Care in the Community. The Report contains 40 wide ranging recommendations and in his foreword the Chairman highlighted that more emphasis must be placed on the physical structure of Primary Care Teams and providing community mental health services through those teams. He also called for an immediate expansion of GP training places to a minimum of 150 places and stated that services such as radiology, ultrasound and cardiac diagnostics need to be available at Primary Care Centres.
Recommendation 13 of the Report focuses on the provision of Primary Care Centres and recommends the introduction of a system of incentives, including Capital Tax Allowances, Stamp Duty Relief, and Rates Relief. These recommendations are not my responsibility but are for my colleagues the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The development of Primary Care Centres is continuing and the HSE expects at least 115 centres to be operational by 2013, supporting 160 Primary Care Teams.
In so far as the recommendations relating to me are concerned, significant progress has been made.
Community Mental Health Centres are being developed in tandem with Primary Care Centres, where space allows. 228 such developments have been planned in total, one of which has opened in Letterkenny and a further 31 sites have been identified.
There are now 157 GP training places.
Access to diagnostic services in primary care will be a particular focus of the work of the National Clinical Director for Radiology Services and each Clinical Director in determining the clinical care pathway for their specific care programme will stipulate the appropriateness and frequency of out reach services.
Many other developments have taken place in Primary Care since the publication of the Joint Committee's report. The development of Primary Care Teams will continue and 527 Primary Care Teams have been identified for development by the end of 2011, when ultimately everyone in the country should be able to access 95% of the care they need within their local community.