Fórsa has written to the secretary general of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, about the need to implement an existing proposal to appoint a dedicated Health & Social Care Professional (HSCP) policy advisor at the department.
In a letter sent to the department earlier this month, the union’s head of Health and Welfare, Éamonn Donnelly, said the time had come to bring discussions on the appointment to a successful conclusion. He said this was necessary if a number of pending objectives in health, including delivery of the Sláintecare implementation strategy, are to be realised.
Éamonn said the issue had been discussed directly with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, in August last year, and the union has been building cross party support for the appointment in recent months, as part of its ‘Heart of Health and Welfare’ campaign.
Éamonn added: “The need for an autonomous HSCP policy advisor has never been more absolute on the basis of:
- The plan to develop and implement 96 Community Health Networks contained in the Winter Plan to 2022
- The plans contained in the health sector Building Momentum sectoral Action Plan to establish the community health structures and reporting arrangements which moves towards the model recommended in the Sláintecare Report
- The recently published Sláintecare implementation strategy.
“It is accepted, beyond question, that HSCPs will play a pivotal role at front and centre of a healthcare model, which removes pressure from the acute hospitals sector in favour of community led treatments and processes.
“It is, therefore, vital that your department has in place an autonomous advisor at the appropriate level to best advocate and lead out on stated government policy,” he said.
Éamonn said the union’s national health team continues to talk to representatives of all political parties about the union’s approach to community-centred healthcare delivery. “The appointment of a dedicated HSCP advisor at this point would help to unlock the process of reform envisaged in the Sláintecare programme, and drive the process on as we emerge from pandemic crisis conditions,” he said.
At the Heart of Health and Welfare
Representing over 30,000 health workers including health and social care professionals, clerical, administrative, management and technical staff. We consider it one of the many strengths of the union that our members are central to the delivery the full array of health and welfare services in Ireland.
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