The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has published the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy, which he insists establishes the ‘building blocks for a significant shift in the way in which health services are delivered in Ireland'.
The Sláintecare Report was published in May 2017. It is a 10-year plan that aims to transform how health services are delivered in Ireland and was agreed upon by all political parties.
According to Minister Harris, this implementation strategy ‘provides the framework within which a system-wide reform programme will be advanced'. However, he emphasised that these reforms will be ‘complex'.
"These changes won't happen overnight, and it is essential to get the sequencing of reform right to minimise interference with ongoing service delivery and to put in place the necessary enablers and building blocks for reform, including infrastructure and supports for the health workforce," he said.
Key actions in the first three years of reform include:
-The establishment of a HSE board and the reconfiguration of the HSE to improve accountability and support integrated care
-The enhancement of community care, including the expansion of community-based diagnostic facilities and a new community nursing service
-Reform of the GP contract
-A review of the eligibility framework to develop a roadmap to achieve universal entitlement
-An increase in bed capacity in public hospitals
-Choosing locations and commencing the planning process for new elective hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Galway
-Tackling long hospital waiting lists by more investment in the NTPF and the development of an integrated waiting list management system.
Commenting on the implantation plan, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said that it is already known that current health and social care services ‘cannot meet the growing demands being placed on them'.
"Our population is changing rapidly, bringing with it changing healthcare needs. There is overwhelming consensus that a transformation is needed in the way we deliver care and that this must be planned, managed and delivered within a coherent system-wide reform programme.
"The publication of this strategy signals the Government's intention to deliver a transformational reform of the health system over the next decade. It provides the framework for a significant programme of change and improvement to achieve the long-term vision as set out in the Sláintecare Report," he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Harris added that engagement with health workers and members of the public ‘will be a priority throughout the reform process'.
"Success will depend on a broad coalition - spanning politicians, all health service professionals and staff, patients and the public - to unite behind this plan," he said.
The implementation strategy can be viewed here
It was published on the same day that it was revealed that almost one million people were waiting for various health service appointments in the first half of this year. For more on this, click here
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