Press Release

Ministers welcome publication of the HSE National Service Plan 2017 HSE announcement of Christmas recruitment drive welcome

Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Disability Finian McGrath, Minister for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne, Minister for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy and Minister for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee have today welcomed the publication of the HSE National Service Plan for 2017.

Welcoming the publication of the plan, Minister for Health, Simon Harris said, “Today’s Service Plan is based on an increased budget of almost €1 billion since last year bringing the total health budget to over €14 billion. This provides us with an opportunity to improve services for our patients and for the Irish public who have made it clear they want to see investment in public services.

“The National Service Plan will deliver on some of my key priorities in 2017. I have provided €20 million to the NTPF to work with the HSE to drive down waiting lists and this will increase to €55 million in 2018. The focus of this will be on reducing the length of time people are waiting for treatment. The €40 million provided for the Winter Initiative in 2016 will continue in 2017 to implement measures to address overcrowding in our emergency departments. I am very conscious of the people who are on trolleys in our hospitals today, especially older people, and of the pressures and stress on staff working in this environment. We have to continue our focussed efforts to address the specific problems that arise in winter but we also have to tackle the bigger issues like staffing both in the long term and with immediate, practical measures now.

“I welcome the announcement today by the HSE of an open recruitment event on the 28th, 29th and 30th of this month for nurses and midwives from all disciplines who are interested in working in the Irish health service. This will target nurses coming home for Christmas and allow walk-in interviews on the day. This will be the first in a series of career day events for nurses throughout 2017.

“The Service Plan is aimed at ensuring we deliver a high quality health service in 2017 for all our citizens, both young and old. Today’s health service faces many challenges, not least those of a growing population and an ageing population. The HSE, with support from my Department, will work hard to meet those challenges and deliver on the promise of a high quality service, accessible to all.”

The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disabilities, Minister Finian McGrath said, “I am very pleased that in 2017 the HSE will provide services in line with or in some cases, in excess of the target for services set out for 2016. In addition, I welcome that extra funding secured for disability services will be put to good use in important areas. Additional funding of €10m is being allocated to meet the cost of providing day supports and services for approximately 1,500 young adults with disabilities who will complete their education or life-skills training in 2017. I am also particularly pleased with the specific provision for 185 new emergency residential placements and new home support and in-home respite for 210 additional people who require emergency supports. This is an issue I have consistently highlighted as a priority for me in my role as Minister of State with responsibility in this area.

“My Department is currently preparing legislation to give children in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) payment automatic entitlement to a medical card. I am delighted to note that this new legislation will effectively mean that all children in respect of whom a DCA payment is made will automatically qualify for a medical card and, therefore, no longer be subject to the medical cards means test at any point in the future while in receipt of DCA.”

Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Minister Catherine Byrne, welcoming the publication of the Service Plan, said, “The allocation of an additional €3 million to support drugs initiatives will help improve access to drug treatment services, in particular for those under 18, and will enable the establishment of a pilot supervised injecting facility in Dublin city centre in 2017. This will bring the funding available to the HSE for social inclusion services to over €133m in 2017. A total of €3.5m in funding has been provided in the Service Plan, to enable homeless services initiated in 2016 to be continued and to allow for appropriate lead in-times for the development of new services in 2017 to ensure that the most appropriate primary care and mental health services are provided to those affected by homelessness. This will result in €6m in full year costs in 2018 on health-related actions for the homeless, in fulfilment of the funding commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.”

The Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Minister Helen McEntee, said, “The Service Plan reflects the high priority this Government is according to the ongoing development of our Mental Health Services, as shown by the development funding allocated in 2016 and the additional new development funding of €35 million to be initiated in 2017, for both new and ongoing expansion of existing services. Priorities in 2017 include improved 7-day response in mental health services, expanded out-of-hours and liaison services for both adult and children, and increased forensic in-reach into prisons. However, as funding needs to be phased in, I am commencing with an allocation of €15 million in 2017, rising to €35 million funding in 2018. By phasing in funding in this way, the HSE will also be able to plan for further expansion of general adult, and child & adolescent community services from 2017 onwards.

“Home care services are critical to enable older people to stay in their own homes and maintain their independence for as long as possible. Considerable progress was made during 2016 in expanding home care services. The HSE will continue to support older people in their own homes and communities as well as providing enhanced services and transitional care resources to support acute hospital discharge. There will, of course, always be a cohort of people who require long term residential care. This must continue to be available for those who need it. In that respect, I am pleased that with a budget of €940m for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme in 2017, we will be able to achieve this.”

Welcoming the Service Plan, the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said, “I’m pleased that the Service Plan reflects the important role the HSE plays in implementing Healthy Ireland.
“I am particularly pleased with the commitments on Healthy Eating and Active Living, which have a greater emphasis on prevention and care which are key aspects of our new obesity policy ‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland’.

“I welcome the plans to progress key actions in relation to sexual health, to drive uptake of screening and vaccination programmes including the new infant vaccination programmes for rotavirus and meningococcal B, and to prepare for enforcement of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

The development of a Healthy Ireland plan in each hospital group and CHO, coupled with supporting staff health and wellbeing, means the HSE will be well placed to continue its leadership role in protecting the public from threats to health and wellbeing, as well as partnering with other stakeholders to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities across our population.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Specific new Developments

The HSE’s net non-capital determination of €13,948.5 million includes provision of €81.3m for specific service enhancements including:

  • Disability services, including provision of places in a day centre for school leavers with a disability (€11.8m)
  • Hospital services developments (including national children’s hospital) and the opening of commissioned new units (€9m)
  • Improve access to older people services (€10m)
  • Improvements in National Ambulance Service delivery (€1m);
  • Introduction of the medical card for recipients of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (€10m)
  • Reduction in prescription charges for the over 70’s (€10m)
  • Improve access to primary care services (€12m)
  • Implementation of eHealth Ireland (€1m)
  • Improve access to mental health services (€15m)
  • Improve access to addiction services (€1.5m)

A sum of €36.5 million is being held by the Department of Health for

  • Mental health services – €15m to initiate new developments in 2017.
  • Primary care development – €18.5m for service developments including reduced prescription charges for over 70s.
  • Social inclusion – €3m to invest in services relating to addiction and marginalised groups.

The Service Plan allows for the €6m in full year costs in 2018 on health-related actions for the homeless, in fulfilment of the funding commitment in Rebuilding Ireland.

Additional funding for the next phase of engagement with GP representatives on the future contractual framework is included in the total funding available in 2017. This funding is part of the €18.5m held-back by the Department in respect of specific Primary Care service initiatives.

In recognising the time lag in new staff taking up posts and the completion of other preparations for the introduction of these services, the Mental Health additional allocation will rise to €35m.

Summary of Service Provision developments in NSP 2017

Acute Hospital Services:

  • The €40m made available for the Winter Initiative in 2016 has been rolled into the 2017 funding base and this should lead to improvements in patient experience times, numbers of patients on trolleys and access to appropriate homecare packages
  • Capacity will be added to the system through the opening of new ED in Limerick, a new 75 ward block in Galway, additional critical care beds in Cork and a new Acute Medical Assessment Unit in Portlaoise.
  • The continued implementation of the Maternity Strategy will be a priority for 2017
  • New funding of €4m is provided for cancer services, including €3m for cancer drugs and €1m to support the expansion of services in line with the new strategy.

Primary Care:

  • The NSP provides for the full year cost of the 2016 initiative focusing specifically on speech and language therapy waiting lists in Primary and Social Care for children up to 18 years old.
  • Implementation of the Programme for Partnership Government proposal to provide medical cards to all children in respect of whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) payment is made.
  • Reduction in the prescription charge and monthly cap for medical card holders aged 70 and over from €2.50 to €2 per item and from €25 to €20 a month.

Disability:

  • Additional funding of €10m is being allocated to meet the cost of providing day supports and services for approximately 1,500 young adults who will complete their education or life-skills training in 2017.
  • Ongoing implementation of Transforming Lives, and support for the Taskforce on Personalised Budgets and continuing the positive work of the Service Improvement Team (SIT

Services for Older People:

  • HSE will continue to support older people in their own homes and communities for as long as possible as well as well as providing enhanced services and prioritising transitional care resources to support acute hospital discharge
  • The HSE expect to deliver, 10.57 million home help hours to 49,000 people, 16,750 Home Care Packages, 190 Intensive Home Care Packages and 7,820 approvals for transitional care to people in acute hospitals to alternative care settings.

Palliative Care:

Key priorities for 2017 include:

  • Increase the specialist palliative care bed numbers in Kerry (15 beds in Kerry Hospice)
  • Implement the model of care for adult palliative care services
  • Implement a standardised approach to the provision of children’s palliative care in the community

Mental Health:

  • Key priorities to be addressed in the Plan include youth mental health, further improvement to child & adolescent and adult services, older people’s services and specialist services, including eating disorders and CAMHS forensic services.

Homelessness:

  • A total of €3.5m in funding has been provided in the Service Plan, to enable services initiated in 2016 to be continued and to allow for appropriate lead in-times for the development of new services in 2017. This will result in €6m in full year costs in 2018 on health-related actions for the homeless, in fulfilment of the funding commitment in Rebuilding Ireland

NTPF:

  • The HSE will work with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), in relation to the ring- fenced resources that will be made available to the NTPF in 2017 (€20m), to implement waiting list initiatives, reduce waiting times and provide treatment to those patients waiting longest

Patient Safety and Quality:

  • Improving quality and safety for patients is a key element of the 2017 Service Plan.
  • The NSP provides for the HSE National Patient Safety Programme which will work in collaboration with the new National Patient Safety Office in the Department of Health on national priority areas.
  • The Service Plan reflects the priority of Healthcare Associated Infection (HCAI) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by making provision for improving co-coordination and governance structure to support prevention, surveillance and management of HCAIs and AMR

Health and Wellbeing:

  • Implementing and supporting key initial actions under the new Obesity Policy and Action Plan (A Healthy Weight for Ireland) including planning for the provision of enhanced community-based and specialist services;
  • enforcement of tobacco control statutory obligations to protect public health , and preparing for the enforcement of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill
  • maintaining uptake of screening programmes and implementing the current phase of age-extension for the BreastCheck Programme

Human Resources:

  • The plan commits to ongoing implementation of the Strategic Review of Medical Training and Career Structure (MacCraith) Report; in particular it states that the task transfer initiative will be concluded.
  • It also commits to maintaining and progressing European Working Time Directive (EWTD) compliance in respect of Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs).

National Health Innovation Hub:

  • Specific funding of €.260 is being earmarked to support the National Health Innovation Hub, the joint initiative involving the enterprise and health sectors. The official launch of Health Innovation Hub Ireland was launched by the Minister for Health in September this year.

Activity Based Funding:

  • The 2017 Service Plan acknowledges that Activity Based Funding will be a system-wide priority and a key component of the HSE’s approach to meeting financial challenges in 2017. It also provides a commitment to further embed ABF within hospitals and to implement the next phase of the ABF Programme

Activity Level Targets:
Some key targets, as set out in the Service Plan, for overall service levels next year are as follows:

Acute Hospitals

  • Day cases – expected activity level in 2017 (1,056,792) is 4.2% above the 2016 NSP target (1,013,808).
  • Outpatient attendances – expected activity level in 2017 (3,440,981) is 6.1% above the 2016 NSP target (3,242,424).

Primary Care

  • A projected 1.4% reduction in numbers of medical cards in 2017 (reflecting current economic trends which has seen a drop of 1.7% in card numbers in the first 9 months of 2016)
  • A 10.5% increase in projected GP visit cards numbers in 2017 on top of a 7.5% increase in the first 9 months of 2016..
  • Community Intervention Teams – number of referrals in 2017 (32,861) is 36% above the 2016 NSP target (24,202).
  • Therapies/Community Healthcare Network Services – number of patients seen in 2017 (1,549,256) is 24% above the 2016 NSP target (1,249,772).
  • Paediatric Homecare Packages – expected activity level in 2017 (514) is 8.4% above the 2016 projected outturn (474).

Services For Older People

  • No. in receipt of homecare packages (including delayed discharge initiative) – expected activity level in 2017 (16,750) is 1.8% above the revised 2016 target (16,450).
  • No. of persons funded under Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) in long term residential care at year end in 2017 (23,603) is 2 % above the 2016 target.(23,107).

Disability

  • Personal Assistant (PA) Hours – expected activity level in 2017 (1.4m hours) is 8% above the 2016 NSP target (1.3m hours).
  • Home Support Hours – expected activity level in 2017 (2.75m hours) is 6% above the 2016 NSP target (2.6m hours.
  • Transition of up to 223 people from large institutional settings to homes in the community in line with Time to Move on from Congregated Settings (of which 63 are carried over from 2016 and will transfer in Q1 2017 and 160 are additional transfers in 2017)
  • Specific provision for 185 new emergency residential placements and new home support/in-home respite supports for 210 additional emergency cases.
  • Additional funding of €10m is being allocated to meet the cost of providing day supports and services for approximately 1,500 young adults with disabilities who will complete their education or life-skills training in 2017.

National Cancer Control Programme

  • No. of patients presenting to symptomatic breast clinics – 2017 target activity level (18,000) is 7% above 2016 target (16,800).
  • Tobacco
  • No. of smokers receiving intensive cessation support from a cessation counsellor – 2017 target activity level (13,000) is 13% above the 2016 target (11,500).

Health and Wellbeing

  • BowelScreen – 2017 target activity level (106,875) is the same as 2016.

HSE Press Release on the 2017 National Service Plan

HSE National Service Plan 2017