Press Release

Minister Simon Harris welcomes publication of HSE Winter Initiative 2016-2017

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD today welcomed the publication by the HSE of the Winter Initiative 2016 – 2017 to manage the expected increase in demand for health services during the winter and to improve patient experience. The €40 million plan sets out a comprehensive range of actions and measures, across community and hospital services, to increase the availability of community care, facilitate timely discharge from hospital and increase hospital capacity.

Minister Harris said, ‘I want to ensure that the health service is better prepared to meet the challenge of the coming winter. The HSE will now proceed to implement the various actions set out in the plan. I will be closely monitoring progress to ensure that the expected improvements will be achieved, and have requested a weekly update report.’

Specific actions set out in the plan include increased home care support and transitional care beds to improve timely discharge, and additional bed capacity in a number of hospitals to reduce admission delays. Community Intervention Teams will be expanded to target early discharge of frail elderly patients. More appropriate community supports will help these patients further recover at home and help avoid hospital admission. Campaigns to increase the uptake of influenza vaccine by healthcare workers and by older adults are also included. Funding is also being provided to address orthopaedic and scoliosis waiting lists in Cappagh and Tallaght, with over 600 patients benefitting. The plan also addresses a range of system and process improvements, in addition to expenditure related measures.

Minister Harris said ‘ I welcome the focus on supporting timely hospital discharges through an integrated care approach across acute hospitals and community care. Service provision will be enhanced in a range of appropriate non acute care settings and additionally, better patient flow within acute hospitals will be supported.’

For the duration of the plan, the management and clinical governance arrangements across each hospital and community service will be monitored carefully and will include a requirement for weekly reporting on progress.

The Winter Initiative 2016-2017 is available on the HSE website