Press Release

Minister Harris addresses Future of Health Care Committee on future direction of Health Policy

The Minister for Health Simon Harris today addressed the Committee on the Future of Health Care and set out his views on the future direction of health policy.

“I was delighted to have an opportunity to address the Committee today and welcome its work to date on developing a long-term vision for the Irish health service supported by political consensus, which I believe is essential.

“I await with great interest the outcome of this Committee’s deliberations however having been Minister now for the best part of a year I wanted to share my own strategic perspective at this stage and the key priorities I believe need to underpin the future direction of the health service:

  1. Shift our model of care towards more comprehensive and accessible primary care.
  2. Increase health service capacity, in the form of physical infrastructure and staffing, to address unmet need and future demographic requirements.
  3. Exploit the full potential of integrated care programmes and eHealth to achieve service integration around the needs of patients across primary, community and acute care.
  4. Strengthen incentives for providers to effectively respond to unmet health care needs by ramping up Activity Based Funding.
  5. Empower the voice of the clinician and provide them with opportunities to contribute to the management of our health services.
  6. Further develop Hospital Groups and Community Health Organisations, align them geographically and, as they develop, devolve greater decision-making and accountability.
  7. Follow this with the provision of a statutory basis for Hospital and Community Health Organisations, operating as integrated delivery systems within defined geographic areas.
  8. Once statutory responsibilities and accountabilities are devolved from the centre to Hospital and Community Health Organisations, dismantle the HSE and replace it with a much leaner national health agency. In the interim, reform the existing legislation within which the HSE operates to improve governance.

“The report of this Committee and the work that will follow it is a significant moment for our country. I want to sincerely thank the Chair and the members of this committee for the non-partisan and dedicated way they have gone about their work to date and for the opportunity to present my views to the Committee today.”

Ends

Opening Statement by Minister for Health Simon Harris T.D. to the Committee on the Future of Healthcare