Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health his plans he has to extend the provision of additional services in Primary Care Centres to deliver more medical treatment at community level and ease pressure in public hospitals; and if he will outline the types of services that could be extended to these centres.
REPLY / Minister of State Alex White:
The development of primary care is central to the Government's objective to deliver a high quality, integrated and cost effective health system and is a key element of the overall Health Reform Programme. This includes the development of Primary Care Teams (PCTs) and Primary Care Centres (PCCs). The core objective is to achieve a more balanced health service by ensuring that the vast majority of patients and clients who require urgent or planned care are managed within primary and community based settings. This will be achieved by increasing activity in the primary care setting and redirecting services away from acute hospitals to the community.
The development of primary care centres, through a combination of public and private investment, will facilitate the delivery of multi-disciplinary primary health care.
It is the Government’s intention to develop as many primary care centres as possible using one of the following methods:
Considerable progress has been made in the delivery of primary care centres and 34 centres have opened since May 2011.
The establishment of Community Intervention Teams (CITs) is an example of delivering services appropriate for care in the home/community. These Teams work in partnership with PCTs, General Practice, Community Hospitals, home support services, acute hospitals and other professionals, to deliver enhanced services and patient centred care in the most appropriate setting. The benefits of CITs include:
There are currently 7 functioning CITs nationally, with further developments and expansions planned in 2014. The number of patient referrals to CITs in 2013 was 21,493.
Other services scheduled for transfer to Primary Care Centres include the following and these will be progressed further by the HSE during 2014:
The above are examples of routine clinical activity targeted for transfer from acute hospitals to primary care in the short to medium term as the Primary Care Centre infrastructure is developed.