15.11.2012 New strategy for health reform launched

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Yesterday saw the launch of new Government strategy; Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Services 2012".

The report details the new structures and arrangements that will take place to deliver on the health reforms outlined in the Programme for Government.

The new strategy is based on four key inter-dependent pillars of reform:

1. A focus on health and wellbeing including the establishment of a health and wellbeing agency and policy framework, representing a whole of government approach to addressing health issues

2. Service Reform: moving towards a new model of care which aims to treat people in a way that is safe, timely, effective and as close to their homes as possible. This will represent a change from the current hospital centred model of care which reacts when people become very ill, toward a more preventive and planned approach

3. Structural Reform: The strategy outlines a series of changes that will take place including the establishment of new hospital groups and a new Child and Family Support Agency to improve service delivery

4.Financial Reform: The strategy outlines the introduction of a new Money Follows The Patient (MFTP) model that will facilitate money following the patient out of the hospital system and into primary care and other related services. Funding of the new health service will be progressed through phased introduction of universal health insurance and reform of private health insurance and through improved financial control procedures within the health services.

The strategy outlines the changes that will occur in three main areas of the health system:

Primary Care: There will be a focus on the development of primary care through capital investment in primary care centres, development of the primary care workforce, removal of fees to improve access to GP care and improved ICT and reporting structures within primary care to allow greater communication between team members

Hospitals: The strategy provides for the continued work of the Special Delivery Unit to acheive more responsive and equitable access to care, the establishment of a hospital groups and the publication of the framework for the development of smaller hospitals

Social and Continuing Care:

Measures include the reform of the Fair Deal Scheme to allow more people to live at home as they would wish. Reform of disability services will be in line with the recent Value for Money and Policy Review. The strategy also points to a greater community focus for mental health and the rollout of commissioning in relation to service provision. The introduction of individualised budgeting is also highlighted.

 

What will all these reforms mean for people with neurological conditions?

The NAI is closely examining the report for its implications for people with neurological conditions. While the emphasis on primary care is welcomed, this has to take account of the need for provision of specialist services to those with complex needs. The NAI welcomes the proposed development of a chronic disease framework for neurological conditions and looks forward to learning more about how this will be designed and implemented.Reforms to ensure prompt access and shorter waiting lists for hospital based specialist care are to be welcomed. The proposed reforms of social care will have to be carefully examined as to what they will mean for people living with a neurological disability.

The NAI will be engaging with its members and with other organisations in the health and disability sector over the coming weeks to examine the strategy and what it means for people with neurological conditions and their families.

 
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