The Department of Health has begun implementation of recommendations, which were made earlier this year, by the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, a Galway TD has announced.
According to Galway West Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, the only member of the Oireachtas Committee from Connacht, the process “is at a very preliminary stage”, but she said she was “encouraged by the level of commitment” shown by Health Minister Simon Harris, and the department, “in seeking to turn” the Sláintecare report recommendations “into positive actions”.
Dep Naughton said the first steps include the establishment of a board to oversee the performance of the Health Service Executive, and a public consultation on the future alignment of hospital groups. An impact study on the practice of providing care to private patients in public hospitals will also be carried out, while a dedicated programme office will be set up to drive the reforms recommended by the committee.
Dep Naughton claims €40 million will be provided to secure additional homecare packages and transitional beds to allow more patients to be cared for in community settings and to free up acute hospital beds. She also said the committee’s recommendations on homecare and primary healthcare services have resulted in the investment of €65 million for services in communities.
The Galway based TD also said a further €25 million was provided for primary care in the Budget, “which will help to implement the committee’s recommendations regarding a move towards a model of healthcare that delivers better care closer to home in communities.” She said Sláintecare will be driven by a new programme office within the Department of Health.
“For too long, the country’s healthcare planning has been hampered by short-termism and political point-scoring,” said Dep Naughton, who noted that a comprehensive healthreform plan based on the report will be brought to Government by Minister for Health Simon Harris in December.