The “broad purpose” of a second Healthy Ireland council is being considered by the Department of Health, with a new council expected to be established by next year, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.
The final meeting of the first Healthy Ireland council, chaired by former Irish rugby international Mr Keith Wood, took place in December 2017. The council was formed to provide advice and input on the Government’s Healthy Ireland strategy.
The Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan 2021- 2025, published last May, included an action to establish a second Healthy Ireland council “to provide intersectoral leadership to implement actions to realise the strategic outcomes of Healthy Ireland”. In the timeframe for implementation actions, between 2021 and 2023, the plan committed to setting out “the terms of reference and the appropriate membership” of the Healthy Ireland council and convening the council.
A Department spokesperson told MI officials “are presently considering the broad purpose of the council and the resources required to manage and facilitate it”.
“It is expected that a second Healthy Ireland council will be established and will convene prior to the 2023 deadline. At present there is no other body that performs the same role.”
The strategic action plan contains 56 actions across six themes which will be implemented over the next five years. Each action has a lead Government department from across 14 separate Government departments.
“Since the publication of the Healthy Ireland framework seven years ago, significant progress has been made to implement our vision where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential,” Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said last year on the launch of the action plan.
The original Healthy Ireland framework was published in 2013.
Separately, the Department informed MI that “no decision has been made regarding the next topic on the work programme” for the national advisory committee on bioethics (NACB). The NACB published its last paper, titled Nudging in Public Health – An Ethical Framework, in April 2016. It has not met or published any further papers since.