Press Release

Minister Martin announces Ten Primary Care Projects

Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today (8 October 2002) announced that he has approved the establishment of ten implementation projects under the Primary Care Strategy “Primary Care – A New Direction”. Funding totalling €8.4m is being provided for the projects in 2002 and 2003.

“This represents a major step forward in the process of implementing the Primary Care Strategy”, said the Minister.

The projects will involve putting in place, in ten locations around the country, a primary care team, which will include general practitioners, nurses/midwives, health care assistants, home helps, an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, a social worker and administrative personnel. “By bringing this wide range of service providers together in primary care teams, integrated services can be delivered in the community in the most appropriate and accessible way”, said the Minister. As the ten projects are developed, more than 80,000 clients altogether will benefit from having direct access to an improved range of services provided by their primary care team.

“When the Health Strategy was being drawn up, the general public told us that they want themselves, their family members and their communities put at the centre of care delivery,” said the Minister. “Primary care is the first port of call for the majority of people who use health services. It can meet 90 – 95% of all health and personal social service needs,” said the Minister.

“There is a wealth of international evidence that team-based primary care is better for both patients and providers. Many other countries are introducing or have already introduced similar reforms”, he added.

As the new model is developed, a wider primary care network of other primary care professionals will also provide services for the population served by each primary care team.

The areas where the ten implementation projects will be located are

Virginia, Co. Cavan; Lifford, Co. Donegal; Ballymun, Dublin; South Inner City, Dublin; Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry; Portarlington, Co. Laois; West County Limerick; Erris Peninsula, Co. Mayo; Cashel, Co. Tipperary; Arklow, Co Wicklow

“I am delighted to be able to approve the establishment of these initial projects”, said the Minister, “and I look forward to seeing them in operation as a practical demonstration of the new primary care model, capable of meeting the vast majority of people’s day-to day health care needs.”