Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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627. To ask the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of Sláintecare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2976/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The Sláintecare Action Plan sets out detailed timeframes for 239 deliverables to be progressed in 2019 as the first year in the implementation of the Sláintecare vision, and firmly establishes a programmatic approach to the delivery of the Sláintecare strategy. There were 114 deliverables for the period up to September 2019, of which over 90% were on track.

The final 2019 progress report is expected to be published shortly.

Key achievements in implementation include:

- Government agreement to establish six new regional health areas that will align and integrate Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations, which is a first major step towards restructuring our health services in line with recommendations in the Oireachtas Committee report;

- supporting the findings of the Independent Review Group established to examine private activity in public hospitals (the De Buitléir Report) with the decision and announcement that all future consultant appointments, from second quarter 2020, will be to the new Sláintecare Consultant contract for public only work;

- Revised GP contractual arrangements, which will see a € 210 million investment (40% increase) in General Practice over the next four years of which €80 million will be available for the management of chronic diseases, like diabetes and COPD, through family doctors. This is expected to benefit more than 400,000 patients;

- strengthening the Health Service Executive with the formal appointment of the HSE Board in May 2019 and the appointment of a new HSE Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

- €20 million for 122 Integration Fund projects, designed to promote the engagement and empowerment of citizens in the care of their own health, scale and share examples of best practice and processes for chronic disease management and care of older people and encourage innovations in the shift of care to the community or provide hospital avoidance measures.

Other milestones in implementation include:

- Nine Community Healthcare Network (CHN) learning sites, designed to deliver Primary Health Care Services across an average population of 50,000, have been identified and Network Managers appointed.  Implementation lessons from the learning sites will inform further rollout of the wider CHN model across the country.

- An Elective Hospital Oversight Group has been established to established to guide the development of policy on dedicated elective/ambulatory hospitals.

- Budget 2020 provided a €10m Enhanced Community Care Fund, rising to €60m in 2021, funding up to 1,000 therapists, nurses and other frontline staff to care for people in the community, including advisers for people with dementia. This will allow us to treat people in the community, closer to their own homes, reducing community waiting lists.

- A care redesign fund of €12m has been provided to develop integrated care and enable people to access the right care in the right place at the right time.

- The Independent Patient Advocacy Service was established.

- Government approval was received to initiate the tender process for the Electronic Health Record in the National Children’s Hospital.

- The National Patient Experience Survey has now expanded to maternity services.

- The Smile agus Sláinte National Oral Health Policy was published in April 2019 with a commitment to elements of universal healthcare to be implemented between 2020 to 2026.

- The Healthy Ireland Outcomes Framework was published, and the Healthy Ireland Survey 2019 has been published.

Priorities for 2020

Building on the foundations and achievements of 2019, Sláintecare will progress three multi-annual, jointly implemented priority reform programmes for 2020, which are to:

- develop and implement the business case for the Regional Health Areas to enable integrated patient-centred services, that are safe, local and fairly distributed;

- develop and implement a Capacity and Access programme to address the findings of the Health Service Capacity Review and reduce waiting times;

- examine eligibility and entitlement to health and social care services to make sure cost is not a barrier to getting care in a timely manner.


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