Press Release

Minister Martin approves Health Action Zones Project

Micheál Martin, Minister for Health and Children, announced today (29 April 2002) that he is providing funding of €200,000 for a pilot project to establish two Health Action Zones in Cork City. The two areas involved will be Knocknaheeny / Churchfield and Mayfield / The Glen.

Health Action Zones involve focusing on particular areas of disadvantage and developing a range of health services tailored to the needs of those areas. This model has been developed in Britain in areas of deprivation and poor health, to tackle health inequalities and modernise services through local innovation.

The Southern Health Board will establish Community Health teams in the areas of Cork involved and, in partnership with the community and with service providers, they will develop strategies to address inequalities, deliver improvements in public health and health outcomes and in quality of treatment and care. “This will extend beyond just health service issues to examine other factors that impact on people’s health and well-being in the community”, said the Minister.

The Minister said that the Health Action Zone projects were in line with the aims of the primary health care model set out in the Health Strategy, which are to provide:

A greatly strengthened primary care system which will play a more central role as the first and ongoing point of contact for people with the health-care system;

An integrated, inter-disciplinary, high-quality, team based and user-friendly set of services for the public;

Enhanced capacity for primary acre to complement the existing diagnosis and treatment focus in the areas of prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation and personal social service.

“These Health Action Zone projects will provide an opportunity to explore new approaches to the delivery of health services in disadvantaged areas,” said the Minister. “I am particularly pleased that they will involve a partnership approach, enabling local communities to be involved in the design and delivery of services,” he added.