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Minister cites ‘remarkable’ progress under Sláintecare

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has published the latest Sláintecare mid-year Progress Report. It follows the recent high-profile resignations of Prof Tom Keane as Chairperson of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council, and Ms Laura Magahy as Executive Director of the Sláintecare reform programme office, amid deep concerns about progress of the Government’s health reform programme.

The report details a total of 112 “deliverables” for the first six months of this year. Of those 112 deliverables, 109 are either on track or have been progressed, according to the Department of Health.

The report states the progress made in the first six months of 2021, against the priorities and actions detailed in the 2021–2023 Strategy and Action Plan, and focuses on two reform programmes:

  • Programme One: Improving safe, timely access to care and promoting health and wellbeing, centres on integration, safety, prevention, shift of care to the right location, productivity, extra capacity and achieving Sláintecare waiting time targets.
  • Programme Two: Addressing health inequalities, centres on addressing health inequalities towards universal healthcare.

Eleven projects have been developed and are aligned with key national strategies, policies and initiatives, outlined a Department statement today.

The elective hospitals preliminary business case was “substantially” progressed, the statement continued, with the hospitals to be located in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

Implementation of the eHealth Programme had also been “substantially” progressed.

The Sláintecare Integration Fund had piloted and tested services that deliver care in the community. This had resulted in hospital avoidance, reduction in ED attendance and reduced waiting lists in specialities such as urology, orthopaedics and cardiology, maintained the Department.

These projects are currently being evaluated for continued “funding and mainstreaming”, and 41 Sláintecare Integration Fund projects have been identified for “mainstreaming and scaling” across the health service primarily under the Enhanced Community Care Fund.

Enhanced Community Care (ECC) is a key component of delivering Sláintecare and represents a shift of care from acute hospitals into the community and closer to people’s homes, in line with the Sláintecare vision of ‘right care, right place, right time’.

The rollout of Community Healthcare Networks (CHN) and Community Intervention Teams was “underway”, continued the Department. CHNs support the aim of delivering more care in the community. These networks will support people to live more independently in their community by coordinating and integrating services.

Minister Donnelly said: “The vision of Sláintecare is to achieve a universal single-tier health and social care system, where everyone has equitable access to services based on need, and not ability to pay. Of the 112 deliverables detailed in the mid-year report, 109 are on track or being progressed.

“Given what our health service has faced in the last 18 months, this is remarkable progress and a fantastic testament to the hard work and dedication of staff right across the Department of Health, the HSE and all of the partner organisations who work together to deliver Sláintecare.

“As Minister for Health, my priorities now are to build on the success to date detailed in this report by implementing a detailed waiting list plan, progress work to build new elective hospitals around the country, scale and mainstream integration innovation and implement the eHealth Programme.”

The Sláintecare mid-year Progress Report for 2021 is available at the following link – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/cce45-slaintecare-mid-year-progress-report-for-2021/

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