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HSE to ‘test’ new healthcare model next year

The cost-free model is being introduced “to improve the health and wellbeing of the population while getting best value from health system resources”, according to a draft document on the plan seen by the Medical Independent (MI).

The move is in line with developments in other countries, where commissioning has been used to drive quality, efficiency and outcomes for patients, the document notes.

The new model will be introduced on a phased basis and tested in 2018, following the selection of suitable initiatives this year.

A HSE spokesperson described commissioning as “planning, agreeing and monitoring services”.

The spokesperson said there is a need for a model that “promotes and facilitates ownership and accountability for care delivery within service delivery organisations.

“However, securing services is much more complicated than securing goods and the diversity and intricacy of the services delivered by the healthcare systems is unparalleled,” added the spokesperson.

“It should be noted that references to ‘commissioning’ in this context should not be confused with the commissioning approach taken in other countries, for example in the UK. Neither should it be taken as a form of ‘outsourcing’ of health services.”

The definition phase of the new model – called the Evidence Informed Commissioning Cycle – has been completed and work on the design phase is now beginning.

The model contains several elements including quality and service improvement, strategic planning and prioritisation, population needs and resource assessment, service design, service planning, contracting, and performance and accountability.

Clinicians will play an important part in the new model. According to the HSE, it is critical that clinical leaders “provide clinical knowledge, insight and evidence, advocate on behalf of their patients and service user and ensure buy-in from their colleagues”.

Quality will be driven and incentivised where successful but penalties will be enforced where lack of quality is a risk to patient safety.

The draft document was developed by the HSE National Centre Transformation Programme as one of the deliverables identified in the programme plan.

As part of its development, the HSE held a “30-day initiative”, which involved experts within the HSE being freed-up from their normal work to focus as a group for six weeks.

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