Cate McCurry, PA
The aim to reduce waiting lists in hospitals and the community as part of the Sláintecare plan will be “well on its way” by 2023, a committee has heard.
Laura Magahy, executive director of the Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office, said that last year’s health budget has enabled the plans to put be in place.
Ms Magahy said that over the next three years the Sláintecare programme will reduce waiting lists, roll out the consultancy contract, hire 7,000 new community-based staff and deliver 31 new primary care centres.
It will also enable the health department to invest in 32 community specialist hubs and provided the next stage of the healthy communities initiative.
Ms Magahy updated the implementation of Sláintecare – the Government’s plan to reform the health service – to the Oireachtas health committee.
Co-leader of the Social Democrats Roisin Shortall raised concerns on whether the work will be completed by 2023.
Ms Magahy said: “By the end of the three years, we will have the multi-annual plan substantially implemented, and that is to reduce the waiting lists, so we will be well on the way to having the waiting lists down.
“All of this work has been enabled by the budget, so we can hire the right staff and put in place the infrastructure.”
She also said that a team from within the health department, the HSE as well as representative bodies will oversee the Sláintecare consultant contract negotiation process.
One of the main goals of the €3.69 billion plan is to increase the number of elderly people who can stay in their own home.
Ms Magahy said Ireland is an “outlier” in that it has more people going into nursing homes than any other country.
“We have the age-friendly healthy homes programme and have funded 11 age-friendly coordinators in each of the local authorities on a pilot basis to actually have a conversation with people who are deemed to be vulnerable, to establish what supports they need to stay in their own homes,” she told the committee.
“It is down-sizing or a warmer home? Is it occupational therapy requirements?
“We have set ambitious targets to see can we reduce it by putting the requirements in upfront so people can stay in their own homes for longer in a coordinated way.
“It’s involving the housing departments, local authorities and sustainable energy Ireland and the HSE.
“We are interested in this project to keep people in their own homes.”