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New group to develop adult palliative care policy

By David Lynch - 30th May 2022

A new steering group is expected to develop and publish a palliative care policy for adults by early 2023.

The group will be chaired by Professor Karen Ryan, a consultant in palliative care medicine at the Mater Hospital and St Francis Hospice and Clinical Professor at University College Dublin.

The Steering Group is comprised of 16 members (in addition to the Chair), consisting of health professionals, patient representatives, representatives of voluntary organisations, senior HSE management and senior departmental officials.

In addition, Dr Bridget Johnston from Trinity College Dublin, will be assisting with the drafting and research for the policy.

The inaugural meeting of the steering group took place on Thursday 26 May at the Department of Health. The new policy will take into account the developments and relevant research since the development of the previous policy, the 2001 report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care. 

“The 2001 policy was in many ways ahead of its time with its vision for universal access to palliative care and the spirit of collaboration between statutory and voluntary services in providing services,” said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.  

“However, there are still areas which need to be improved and changes in both Irish society and healthcare over the past 20 years which the new policy will need to reflect. 

“I’d like to thank the Chair of the Steering Group, Professor Karen Ryan, and all members of the steering group who have agreed to be involved in such an important piece of work. The extensive knowledge and expertise that Professor Ryan has in the area of palliative care will provide invaluable guidance and leadership for the steering group.”  

The Steering Group is comprised of the following members: 

  • Mr. Brendan Kennelly, representative from Voices 4 Care Group. 
  • Dr. Brendan O’Shea, representative from the Irish College of General Practitioners. 
  • Dr. Eibhlín Connolly, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.  
  • Dr. Feargal Twomey, National Clinical Lead for Palliative Care.  
  • Mr. Fintan Fagan, representative of the Voluntary Hospice Group. 
  • Ms. Karen Charnley, CEO, All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care. 
  • Professor Karen Ryan, Consultant in Palliative Care Medicine at St. Francis Hospice and the Mater Hospital and Clinical Professor at University College Dublin.  
  • Ms. Marian O’Mahony, representative from Voices 4 Care Group. 
  • Ms. Margaret McMahon, Health and Social Care representative from the Clinical Care Program for Palliative Care.  
  • Ms. Mary Flanagan, representative of the Irish Association of Directors of Nursing and Midwifery (IADNAM). 
  • Mr. Maurice Dillon, National Lead for Palliative Care and Integrated Operations and Planning, HSE.   
  • Ms. Michelle Quinn, Nursing Project Officer in the Chief Nursing Office, Department of Health.  
  • Mr. Paul Rowe, Principal Officer of Older Persons Strategy Unit, Department of Health.   
  • Ms. Sarah Treleaven, Principal Officer of the Sláintecare Citizen Care Masterplan, Department of Health. 
  • Ms. Sharon Foley, CEO, Irish Hospice Foundation. 
  • Dr. Siobhán Ní Bhriain, National Lead of the Integrated Care Programme, HSE.  
  • Ms. Terry Hanan, representative of the Cancer Control Programme, HSE.

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