Reform of our health system is already underway. Government has prioritised better governance and management of the HSE and has also committed to expanding and redeveloping the acute and community care sectors through the National Development Plan 2018-2027. Some of the proposals outlined in the Sláintecare Report align with existing government policy. For a full list of government health policies see here.
Since the publication of the Sláintecare report in May 2017, several key actions have been taken to start the journey of reform.
Improved Accountability: The General Scheme of a Bill has been published to establish a HSE board for the HSE to improve accountability. It is hoped that legislation will be enacted later in 2018. The posts of Chair-designate and Director General (CEO-designate) for the HSE have recently been advertised through the Public Appointments Service; these will be pivotal appointments in improving the management and performance of the health service.
Private Practice in Public Hospitals: An Independent review group, chaired by Dr. Dónal de Buitléir, is examining the impact of removing private practice from public hospitals and is expected to report later this year.
Geographic alignment of Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations: A public consultation on the geographical alignment of Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations has recently been completed and will inform policy consideration in relation to broader health service structural reform.
Expanding Capacity: The Health Service Capacity Review published in January 2018 provides the first real assessment of capacity needs across the system for a decade, with an extended scope to take in primary and community care. It provides an evidence base to determine the extent and nature of the capacity that will be required up to 2031.
GP Contract: Negotiations with GPs on a new contract have commenced.
Increased funding: Budget 2018 provided targeted funding for areas identified in the Sláintecare report.
Investment in Infrastructure: The recently published National Development Plan 2018-2027, outlines the Government’s commitment to a significant programme of investment including strong investment in our health and social care services. The NDP commits €10.9bn to be invested in health infrastructure and reform. This includes funding for existing projects including the new National Children's Hospital, roll-out of primary care centres, National Forensic Mental Health Hospital and the eHealth Strategy.
It also includes funding to deliver: