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The introduction of a five-year HSE National Service Plan was a key commitment made in the health section of the Programme for a Partnership Government.
A HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that it is currently working on the traditional one-year plan, and a legislative change would be required before work could begin on a five-year plan.
The Department of Health told MI that it is the Government’s intention “to work with the Oireachtas to sustain appropriate annual increases in the health budget”.
“Expenditure is to be based on multi-year budgeting supported by a five-year health service plan based on realistic and verifiable projections.
“The Department is currently considering how best to practically implement this commitment and work is ongoing in the development of the different elements required.
“In the meantime, the HSE is undertaking work on budgeting and service planning for 2018 and, as with previous years, the National Service Plan for 2018 will cover a one-year period. It is expected to be published in early December 2017.”
The Department’s spokesperson added the development of a five-year plan will be done in the context of the recent Sláintecare Report.
“The establishment of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare demonstrated a shared understanding of the scale of the challenges facing our health services and recognition of the need for a fundamental re-shaping of our vision and long-term strategy for healthcare, based on cross-party consensus,” said the spokesperson.
“The Minister is currently developing a response to the Committee’s Sláintecare report, which he will bring to Cabinet as quickly as possible.”
Earlier this month, the Health Reform Alliance expressed “disappointment” that the first landmark deadline of the Sláintecare Report — the establishment of an Implementation Office in the Department of the Taoiseach by the end of July — had passed “without any tangible action”.