Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
Health Services Reports
499. To ask the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to ensure that the recommendations of a review (details supplied) are implemented; the recommendations acted upon to date; the timeline for the completion of each of the actions contained in the recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30018/20]
The Report of the Independent Review Group established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and social services, published in February 2019, highlighted the important contribution that voluntary organisations have made and continue to make in the delivery of health and social care services across the country.
The key finding in the Report is the need to strengthen the relationship between the State and the voluntary sector. To this end, a Dialogue Forum with Voluntary Organisations was established in December 2019 as recommended in the Report as a key mechanism for strengthening this relationship. The aim of the Forum is to build a stronger working relationship between the State and the voluntary healthcare sector for the benefit of patients and service users. The Forum will also facilitate regular dialogue with the voluntary sector on Sláintecare and other policy initiatives and will consider issues around governance more generally.
The Forum is independently chaired by Peter Cassells. Members of the Forum include the Department, the HSE, HIQA, the Mental Health Commission and the main representative bodies of voluntary providers of health and social care: The Wheel; Mental Health Reform; Disability Federation of Ireland; Not for Profit Association; National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers; Voluntary Healthcare Forum; Voluntary Hospices Group and National Community Care Network.
The Forum met twice in December and January, but further meetings scheduled for March 2020 and May 2020 were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chair recently convened a sub-group of Forum to act as a planning group to assist him in planning and, where appropriate, progressing the work of the Forum over the next three to four months. The Planning Group met online for the first time on 29 September 2020 and the Group will meet again in November and December. It is planned to recommence full Forum meetings in early 2021.
More generally, many of the Independent Review Group Report’s recommendations dovetail with the Sláintecare programme and are being considered in that context. In addition, some recommendations are being taken forward in the context of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s 'Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: A Five-Year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland 2019-2024'.