Minister Martin launches Primary Care Progress Report
Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today (14 July) launched a Progress Report on implementation of the Primary Care Strategy, Primary Care: A New Direction. The Report has been produced by the Primary Care Steering Group and provides an overview of progress since the publication of the Strategy in November 2001.
The Minister established the Steering Group in June 2002 to provide national leadership and guidance in the implementation of the Primary Care Strategy. The Group, chaired by Professor Ivan Perry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC, includes broad representation from the medical, nursing, health and social care professions, community and voluntary pillar and service users, statutory agencies and service providers.
Thanking the Group for its work to date, the Minister said “The Steering Group has worked effectively to produce several worthwhile inputs to the continuing development and implementation of the integrated and multidisciplinary model of primary care.”
The Minister reiterated the Government´s commitment to the full implementation of the Primary Care Strategy and said that it would guide decision-making on service development on a long-term basis.
The Minister also commended the general practitioners and other primary care professionals whom, he said, have worked to ensure the successful establishment of the first ten primary care teams, which he approved in 2002.
“A number of these teams are now providing new and improved services to their target populations and we are starting to see the benefits for both patients and service providers that were envisaged at the outset of the strategy”, said the Minister
“These implementation projects are one of the first steps towards making multidisciplinary primary care system-wide and the learning from them will inform further implementation, particularly in the context of the Health Service Reform Programme,” he added.
Referring to the need to provide new primary care centres, the Minister said “In the course of implementing the strategy, we intend to examine a range of approaches to developing service delivery and to encourage and facilitate the provision of modern, well-equipped user-friendly buildings from which the broad range of primary care services can be delivered”.
The Minister also indicated his intention to explore different ways of implementing the interdisciplinary model of primary care, including consideration of whether primary care teams might be set up as separate functional entities, with appropriate legal and contractual arrangements to govern the service they would provide.