Ministers publish Future Health framework

HEALTH MINISTERS PUBLISH – FUTURE HEALTH: A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR REFORM OF THE HEALTH SERVICE 2012-2015. The Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly TD and Ministers of State Kathleen Lynch TD & Alex White TD have today (15 November 2012) published Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012-2015. It sets out the main healthcare reforms that will be introduced in the coming years, as key building blocks for the introduction of Universal Health Insurance in 2016. Future Health is about prioritising the needs of the patient even as difficult decisions on health financing are made.

Future Health contains a set of specific actions, with timelines, that will prepare the way for Universal Health Insurance. Speaking at the launch of the document today, Minister Reilly said:

“The core of the Government’s health reform programme is a single-tier health system, supported by Universal Health Insurance in 2016. Future Health sets out the steps to bring us improved health and wellbeing; faster, fairer access to hospital care; free access to GP care by 2015; better management of chronic illness; more people cared for in their own homes and improved quality and safety. The goal is to put the needs of the patient at the centre of the health system. The essential public nature of the health system will not be changed.”

Future Health will deliver a major reshaping of the health system by restructuring our service delivery, and improving our organisational, financial, governance and accountability systems across the board – in the primary, community and hospital sectors.

Minister Reilly said: “I am determined to press ahead with the key reforms of our health system that we promised in the Programme for Government. Future Health sets out the main building blocks to achieve these reforms. The changes are right for the system, right for staff and, most importantly, right for patients and all users of our health service. The financial pressures on the health system make it even more important that we introduce comprehensive health reform. Only in this way can we deliver the services our people need, even as the available financial resources diminish.

I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders to give us the health service we all want.”

Speaking at the launch today Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said:  “This Government is committed to reforming social care as a key element of the health reform programme. The objective is to deliver social care at the lowest level of complexity through a service focussed on the care needs of older people, those in need of palliative care, people with a disability and those with mental health issues. I believe that with the on-going commitment of all involved, we can design and implement an equitable and responsive social care system that will bring tangible benefits to some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Minister of State Alex White said:

“The development of primary care is an essential element of this government’s healthcare strategy. Working with colleagues, my task is to bring forward the reforms that are necessary to make this a reality.

This will include the further development of Primary Care Teams and Centres throughout the country, together with pioneering new legislation paving the way for GP-care without fees. The first stage will be to extend GP care to persons with chronic diseases. The legislation required to achieve this will be published shortly.

Primary Care Teams will give people access to integrated, multi-disciplinary care by GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others – working in collaboration, and from the same facility.

These are critical elements of the Government’s plan Future Health being launched today. I look forward to working with all involved in the delivery of primary care, and in helping to construct a truly equitable healthcare system, dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all our citizens.”

Publication is available on the DOH website at the following link <>