New organisational and operational structures planned in Sláintecare Action Plan 2019

Health Minister, Simon Harris has published the Sláintecare Action Plan 2019, outlining the project management structures and governance approach for the 10-year implementation of Sláintecare and the actions and milestones for 2019. Maureen Browne reports.

He said the Action Plan, developed by the Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office, was a fundamental enabler in the delivery of the Sláintecare vision for reformed health and social care services in Ireland.

The key Sláintecare actions to be delivered in 2019 include the following:

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Workstream 1: Service Re-design and Supporting Infrastructure

  • Scale projects to improve the management of chronic disease and older people’s services so that care can be provided at or close to home.
  • Plan bed and diagnostic capacity to meet the needs of our growing population.
  • Prototype a Citizen Health Portal, continue EHR roll-out and explore scale-up of telehealth solutions.

Workstream 2: Safe Care, Coordinated Governance and Value for Money

  • Define and agree a new organisational and operational structure for the future reconfigured health and social care service, including respective roles of the Department of Health, the HSE and regional and community organisations.
  • Develop a roadmap and policy proposals for how to provide universal services at no or low cost to the patient/service user.
  • Review the recommendations from the Independent Review examining the removal of private practice from public acute hospitals.
  • Progress the Patient Safety Bill

Workstream 3: Teams of the Future

  • Engage with the education sector and training bodies to agree new ways of training multidisciplinary teams.
  • Implement the recommendations in the Strategic Review of Medical Training and Career Structures.
  • Identify projects which support staff to work to the full scope of their licence to ensure that patients are seen at the lowest level of complexity possible.

Workstream 4: Sharing Progress

  • Commence the development of an evaluation and reporting framework.
  • Launch the €20m Sláintecare Integration Fund for 2019 to test, learn from and support the implementation of new models of integrated care
  • Roll-out a Citizen and Staff Engagement and Empowerment Programme which will be scaled and sustained throughout the 10-year implementation period

Minister Harris said “Sláintecare will deliver a health and social care service that meets the needs of our population and attracts and retains the very best healthcare professionals, managers and staff. Our core objective is to shift the majority of care from the acute to the community setting to bring care closer to home for service users.

Prototype a Citizen Health Portal, continue EHR roll-out and explore scale-up of telehealth solutions.

“This will help us reduce waiting lists and waiting times and ultimately meet our goal of improving population health. Over a ten-year period, Sláintecare will deliver a service that offers the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“To implement this ambitious reform programme, it is essential that we establish a clear, accountable and structured annual plan for delivery, and the 2019 Action Plan that I am publishing today is just that. It is a detailed and comprehensive plan for 2019 which firmly establishes a programmatic approach to the delivery of the Sláintecare Strategy.

“As the Action Plan sets out, considerable work is already underway to deliver on the commitments made in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy. Earlier this year, my Department announced the appointment of eight new members of the HSE Board, one of the key recommendations of Sláintecare. Enhancing governance and accountability in the health and social care service is integral to Sláintecare reform and the new HSE Board will work with the HSE to implement Sláintecare.”

Executive Director of the Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office, Laura Magahy said “The 2019 Action Plan uses a Citizen Care Masterplan Framework to underpin the project delivery of the very ambitious Sláintecare Strategy. It is essential that all parts of the health and social care system are involved in Sláintecare as these actions will be delivered through and with these partners.

“In 2019 we will be putting in place some essential building blocks to ensure that by the end of the reform programme, the right care is being delivered in the right place, at the right time.”

Anne O’Connor, Interim Director General of the HSE, said “This Plan sets out the key activities that will guide the reform of the health services in 2019 and beyond. The HSE looks forward to working in partnership with our stakeholders in order to deliver on these important actions.”

Review the recommendations from the Independent Review examining the removal of private practice from public acute hospitals.

The publication of the Action Plan follows the second meeting in February of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council (SIAC), chaired by Dr Tom Keane, Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council Chair, Dr Tom Keane, said: “This Action Plan is deeply rooted in the original vision set out by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, and one which has been informed by stakeholders from across the health and social care service.

“As I know from experience, implementation does not happen overnight. However, with the keen focus on structured delivery that this Action Plan presents, I am confident that we have identified and sequenced the first essential steps needed to create the foundations for an Irish health and social care service that, in due course, will provide the right service, in the right place, at the right time”.

Sláintecare represents cross-party political consensus on the future of our health and social care services that is unique in the history of the State. Built on consensus Sláintecare is a ten-year programme to transform our health and social care services.
Over the next ten years, Sláintecare aims to:

  • Promote the health of our population to prevent illness
  • Provide the majority of care at or closer to home
  • Create a system where care is provided on the basis of need not ability to pay
  • Move our system from long waiting times to a timely service – especially for those who need it most
  • Create an integrated system of care, with healthcare professionals working closely together

Under the Programme for a Partnership Government, an All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare was established in June 2016 to create a cross-party vision for the future of our health and social care services. The Committee sat for almost a year, engaging with stakeholders across the system and published the Sláintecare Report in May 2017.

The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy was published in August 2018, setting out the framework within which a system-wide reform programme will be advanced.