Press Release

Launch of the Action Plan for Jobs

Dr. James Reilly, TD. the Minister for Health today, Monday 13th February welcomes the Action Plan, particularly given the positive relationship between increased employment and improved health and well-being, especially mental health, for individuals and for society at large.

The health/lifesciences sector is an important sector to Ireland’s economy (worth some €46bn in exports and circa 48,000 employed in the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceuticals and medical technologies sectors alone). While acknowledging the importance of the sector, the Plan identifies certain challenges for the sector in the Irish context and it identifies a number of very specific actions that will be progressed in 2012 with the health sector –

  • the delivery of a Health Innovation Hub to drive collaboration between the health system and commercial enterprises leading to the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies, products, services and start-ups that emerge from within the health system and/or industry;
  • enact the Health Information Bill to support a conducive environment for health research in Ireland;
  • the preparation of a detailed implementation plan for the development of a national biobanking system.

These actions complement the work underway in the Action Plan for Health Research to improve the health research environment with the active participation of the enterprise agencies, SFI, the health sector, the education sector and others.

While the Plan’s focus is on the maintenance and creation of jobs, it is important that the potential benefits to our health system are not overlooked.

The Plan recognises the need for genuine collaboration between lifesciences firms and the healthcare system “to deliver economic growth, improved patient outcomes and lower healthcare services costs”. Quality health services, a vibrant health research system and economic prosperity are inextricably linked. Science technology and innovation all play an important role in realising improved health outcomes for the population (including the planning for, and delivery of, health systems and services) and more broadly for meeting major societal challenges.