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Delivering a new model of healthcare through the development of a “citizen care masterplan” for the health service and new models of care that are population-health centred are also listed as aims of the strategy. Other key actions include launching a programme of public engagement on health outcomes and a nationwide series of events in 2019/2020 to promote health and wellbeing; enhancing community care; and reforming the GP contract, including providing for a greater role in chronic disease management.
According to the Department of Health, the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy will see a “continued investment in community mental health services and an increase in bed capacity in public hospitals”. The strategy also aims to “tackle long waiting times for acute hospitals by continued investment in the NTPF and the development of an integrated waiting list management system”.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, “We know that our health and social care services as currently designed cannot meet the growing demands being placed on them. Our population is changing rapidly, bringing with it changing healthcare needs. There is overwhelming consensus that a transformation is needed in the way we deliver care and that this must be planned, managed and delivered within a coherent system wide reform programme. The publication of the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy today signals the Government’s intention to deliver a transformational reform of the health system over the next decade. It provides the framework for a significant programme of change and improvement to achieve the long term vision as set out in the Sláintecare Report.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris said “we are committed to achieving this transformation, which will require investment, strengthened governance and accountability, and a coherent programme of reform”.
He added that engagement of the health workforce and the public “will be a priority throughout the reform process and the development of an engagement strategy will be one of the first actions undertaken by the Programme Office”.
Director of the Sláintecare Programme Office Ms Laura Magahy said: “I welcome the mandate which the Government’s agreement has given to driving forward the Implementation Strategy for Sláintecare. I look forward to commencing the work of developing it into a detailed action plan, working with service users and service providers, in order to confirm the status, sequencing, responsibility, and resourcing of all the actions, when I take up my position in September.”
Dr Tom Keane, Chairperson of the Sláintecare Advisory Council, said: “Similar to other countries, the Irish health system needs to radically change if it is to properly meet the health needs of the population. Strong leadership, clear governance and effective engagement of stakeholders across the health sector will be essential to successful reform, as will a long-term vision for health policy that remains constant from government to government – that is what Sláintecare represents.”