QUESTION NO 187* To ask the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 96 of 13 March 2008, if the target, as included in Towards 2016, of establishing 300 primary care teams by 2008 has been met; if not, the number of primary care teams which have been established throughout the country; if a review of these targets has commenced; if so, the outcome of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th June, 2008.
The key objective of the Primary Care Strategy is to give people direct access to integrated multi-disciplinary teams of general practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, home helps and others. Membership of primary care teams and networks are drawn from existing professional and other staff working in primary, continuing and community care services.
The Government has committed under the Towards 2016 Agreement to the establishment of 300 Primary Care Teams by 2008; 400 by 2009 and 500 by 2011. In line with the Agreement, a review of these targets is presently under way.
There have been substantial enhancements in the services provided in primary and community care settings along with corresponding increases in the numbers of staff concerned. At this stage, the main focus needs to be on the reorganisation of existing services and staff into primary care teams and networks. This requires changes in work practices and reporting relationships, with an emphasis on joint working by various health professionals. It also requires significant work in mapping and profiling of areas.
Work under many of these headings is well advanced and I am pleased with the level of interest in, and engagement with, primary care teams among general practitioners. I understand that some 500 GPs are involved in the development of teams, with a further 700 projected to become involved.
Specific additional funding was provided each year between 2006 and 2008 to facilitate the roll-out of extra primary care teams. Some of this funding was used to appoint extra frontline professional staff. The HSE has advised me that it was unable to use the remaining funding as planned because it had to cover higher than anticipated costs in other parts of its services, particularly in acute hospitals, within its overall budget allocation.
Clearly, the HSE has to operate within the resources made available to it in any given year. However, this should not mean that new funding provided by the Government for specific service enhancements is redirected to other purposes.
I have emphasised to the HSE the importance I attach to the continued development and roll-out of primary care teams.
QUESTION NO: 96 for WRITTEN ANSWER on 13/03/2008
* To ask the Minister for Health and Children the number, with regard to community based primary care services, of multidisciplinary teams established on a pilot basis in 2001; the locations of same; if this model of service delivery has been proven to be effective; if it has since been expanded; the targets set in relation to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton
The Primary Care Strategy aims to develop services in the community to give people direct access to integrated mutli-disciplinary teams of general practitioners, nurses, home helps, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.
It has been estimated that up to 95% of people’s health and social services needs can be properly met within a primary care setting and the establishment of new Primary Care Teams can contribute greatly to enhancing community based health services.
In October 2002 my Department approved the establishment of ten primary care implementation projects – one in each of the former health board areas, with funding to enable existing staff resources within the public system to be augmented. These initial 10 fully-fledged Primary Care Teams were established from 2003 onwards and enabled the primary care model to be demonstrated in action. The teams were located at Arklow, Ballymun, Cashel, Erris, the Liberties, Lifford, Portarlington, Virginia, West Kerry and West Limerick.
The Health Service Executive has indicated that a review of the ten implementation primary care projects was undertaken in the second quarter of 2006 and that significant points of learning have been taken from these teams and used to inform the process of primary care team development generally.
The HSE received additional funding of €40m over the period 2006 to 2008 for the establishment of some 200 primary care teams involving 600 front line professionals.
The Government has committed under the Towards 2016 agreement to the establishment of 300 Primary Care teams by 2008; 400 by 2009 and 500 by 2011. A review of these targets is due to be undertaken in 2008.
I have emphasised to the Health Service Executive the importance which I attach to the continued development and roll-out of primary care teams and my Department will monitor progress in this regard throughout the year.