Health Service Executive Updates – 27th January 2014 – Agenda Item No. 2

Regional Health Forum – Dublin North East

Fóram Réigiúnach Sláinte – Baile Átha Cliath agus an tOirthuaisceart

27th January, 2014

Agenda Item No. 2

Health Service Executive Updates

1. Publication of the HSE Service Plan for 2014

The National Service Plan 2014 for the health services was published on Wednesday, 18th December, 2013 following approval by the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D. The Service Plan sets out the type and volume of services the HSE will provide directly and through a range of funded agencies during 2014. These health and social care services must be delivered within the €13.120 billion funding provided by Government and within the stipulated employment levels.

The HSE budget for 2014 reflects total cost reductions of €619 in health services. The HSE, working closely with the Minister for Health and his Department, succeeded in ensuring that the target of €113m set against medical card probity will now come from other sources rather than from medical cards. This sum remains a target to be achieved but will come instead from €47m additional monies from Government with the balance coming from a reduction in money set aside for lump-sum pension payments in 2014. A €23m probity target remains in relation to medical cards.

The savings target of €108m, which was an element of the overall targeted payroll savings, will now be put to one side and subject to a separate process over the coming months.

Additional savings and cost containment measures of €129m have also been identified. These include savings in the area of procurement (€30m), shared services (€10m), value for money (€10m) and hospital reconfiguration (€7.5m).

While the additional €47m in health service funding is to be welcomed, 2014 remains a very challenging year ahead both in service and financial terms for the health service.

The health service wide priority in 2014 will be to protect the quantum and quality of frontline services. Every member of staff, both clinical and management roles, will focus on ensuring that services are delivered to the highest levels of safety and quality possible.

In 2014, €178m in additional funding is being provided for vital service developments including bicochlear implants (€3.2m), additional medical cards (35m), organ donation and transplant services (€2.92m), medical oncology and haemato-oncology (€3.8m), home care packages to support the discharge of special care babies from hospital (€1.2m), the implementation of recommendations following the Galway maternity reports (€1.48m), diabetic retinopathy (€4.5m) and continue the roll out of BowelScreen (€2m).

Furthermore, through Programme for Government commitments, a total of €57m has been provided for GP services for children aged five years and under (€37m) and mental health services (€20m).

The Service Plan also incorporates unavoidable budget pressures arising from demographic pressures and increased demand for medical cards, drugs and other health services. This is against a backdrop of a reduction in overall health service funding of almost €4billion since 2008 and with staff reductions of over 10,000 in that time.

The Service Plan for 2014 will be focused on delivering on the Health Service reform programme. 2014 will see the phased implementation of ‘Money Follows the Patient’, the transition to Hospital Groups and eventually to Hospital Trusts, the development of new community, personal and social care service structures and the development of a commissioning function as part of the gradual transition to a commissioning model for health services.

Also in 2014 will be the establishment of the Patient Safety Agency on an administrative basis and the roll out of the new eHealth Ireland strategy. Furthermore, 2014 will see the transfer of responsibility for children and family services to the new Child and Family Agency.

It is expected that Divisional Service Plans (to replace previous Regional Service Plans) will be published later this week or early next week.

The HSE Service Plan can be viewed on the HSE website.

2. The Amiens Street Clinic celebrates its 20th anniversary

The City Clinic Drug Treatment Centre on Dublin’s Amiens Street, celebrated 20 years of service on Thursday, 5th December, 2013 with the launch of a special commemorative booklet ‘The City Clinic – 20 Years of Reflections, Remembrances and Recollections 1993 – 2013. The booklet, with contributions from staff and current and former clients, traces the work and development of the clinic over the years. It was launched at a special event for staff and clients which was attended by Director General of the HSE, Mr. Tony O’ Brien and Mr. John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison.

The City Clinic was set up in April 1993 as a public health and harm reduction response to the inner city’s growing heroin problem. Today, the clinic has a staff of 25 multi-disciplinary health professionals and has treated over 1,300 patients.

A copy of ‘The City Clinic – 20 Years of Reflections, Remembrances and Recollections 1993 – 2013’ is available on the HSE website.

3. Redeemer Parent and Baby Support Group celebrates ten successful years

The Redeemer Parent and Baby Support Group marked its tenth anniversary with a celebration event in the Redeemer Community Centre on Thursday, 12th December, 2013. The event was attended by current and former group members, their partners and friends and former group facilitators.

The Redeemer Parent and Baby Support Group was set up in Dundalk ten years ago to improve health and wellbeing by offering an additional range of practical and social supports to new parents and their children up to the age of two years.

This HSE funded support group is professionally facilitated by two health professionals who are also experienced mothers. The success of the group is due to the personal dedication of the past and current group facilitators, the excellent Redeemer Centre staff and the willingness of group members to support each other. While having a baby is considered a very special time, it is also hard work, stressful and exhausting. Few parents are prepared for the enormity of the changes involved in caring for a new baby. Even fewer parents are honest about how stressful this transition to parenthood can be.

The Redeemer Support Group can help to improve the health and wellbeing for parents and children by providing a forum for parents to meet other parents and professionals to discuss issues directly relevant to their lives. It is also an opportunity for them to develop friendships and share information in a safe and friendly environment while their children play and socialise together.

Over the years, many lasting friendships have developed which helped parents to cope with the stresses of parenting. The group is facilitated by two professional facilitators who are health professionals and experienced mothers as well as being exceptionally caring human beings. The local public health nurse is also based in the Redeemer and her expertise is called on by the parents and facilitators. While the group is not a depression support group, mothers who are feeling anxious or depressed can also attend and benefit from both the professional and peer support aspects of the group in a safe and confidential environment. However, most parents who attend just want to meet up with other like-minded parents for social reasons and to exchange practical tips for managing their busy lives. For some parents, attending the group is their only social contact during the week. Therefore, these groups can provide a great support network for isolated parents and the opportunity to form long-term friendships which is especially helpful to parents who do not have family support close by.

The Parent and Baby Support Group meets weekly in the Redeemer Community Centre every Thursday from 10:30am until 12:30pm and all new parents are welcome to attend.

4. ‘Failte Isteach’ project in Tyrrelstown, North Dublin acknowledged for the contribution they are making to the community

The ‘Failte Isteach’ project which has been running in the Mulhuddart/Tyrrelstown area in North Dublin for the past three years recently received an award in recognition for the contribution the project is making to the local community.

The project which is supported by the HSE and Fingal County Council and delivered in conjunction with the local community provides free conversational English classes for new migrants living in the area.

Classes are held each Wednesday morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm in the Tyrrelstown Community Centre where up to 30 people from approximately 15 nationalities meet to practice their English. The classes are delivered by volunteers from the local community who come from all walks of life and age groups.

Participants who attend can:-

  • Improve their English comprehension and their speaking and writing skills;

  • Get assistance with form filling, writing CVs and drafting letters;

  • Increase their opportunities to gain employment;

  • Help make day to day tasks, such as shopping, banking, general interacting with the community, less stressful;

  • Meet new people and make new friends within the project itself and in the wider community.

This year, one of the participants submitted an entry to Fingal County Council under their Community Awards section. The project won the first runner up prize in the Community Development Category. The team were presented with their award by Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Kieran Dennison at a ceremony held in the Draoch Theatre in Blanchardstown.

The first ‘Failte Isteach’ project was introduced by Third Age in Summerhill, Co. Meath in Autumn 2006 when it was noticed that an increasing number of new migrants in the locality were experiencing difficulties in their social and working lives due to limited or nonexistent English. There are now over 100 projects in operation countrywide.

5. Irish Cancer Society donates €90,000 to support bowel cancer screening in Louth

The Irish Cancer Society has donated €90,000 to Louth County Hospital, Dundalk. The funding will be used to purchase equipment that will help develop colorectal symptomatic and screening services in the hospital. This will support the continued rollout of the bowel cancer screening programme.

BowelScreen is a Government funded service delivered by the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) which began offering free bowel cancer screening to people aged 60 to 69 in 2012. In the longer term, it is planned to extend the programme to those aged 55 to 74. The donation from the Irish Cancer Society will help increase the capacity of the hospitals to respond to the increased demand for colonoscopies arising from the BowelScreen programme.  

Louth County Hospital site has commenced colorectal screening and the primary objective of the screening is to detect pre-cancerous adenomas in the lining of the bowel, thereby, making colorectal screening a truly preventative health measure. This funding has enabled the hospital to purchase three video colonoscopes.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. Each year over 2,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 900 people die from it. One of the reasons for this is that more than half of people with bowel cancer are diagnosed in the later stages of the disease which means that they require more complex treatment and have a poorer chance of survival. The good news is that bowel cancer is treatable if caught in time and screening helps detect bowel cancer at an early stage. Bowel cancer screening means that fewer people will develop the disease in the first place, that more of those who do can be treated successfully and that fewer people will die from bowel cancer.

The funding for the donation comes from a private bequest which was made to the Society.

The Irish Cancer Society advises people who are concerned about bowel cancer or who have been experiencing bowel symptoms for four weeks or more to contact their GP immediately. People who are concerned about bowel cancer can also speak in confidence with a specialist cancer nurse by calling the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700.

More information about BowelScreen can be found at or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

6. Presentation of €3,000 to the Orthopaedic Unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

Members of Mountnugent GFC, Co. Cavan recently presented a cheque for €3,000 to staff from the Orthopaedic Unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Mountnugent man, Ned (Edward) Reilly was recently treated for an injury in the hospital’s Orthopaedic Unit. While a patient, Ned noticed that further equipment would aid patient care. Following a good recovery, Ned, in conjunction with Mountnugent GAA football club and generous sponsorship from Breffni Insulation, undertook to raise funds to help purchase a new piece of equipment. A sponsored cycle/walk was held in Mountnugent on 18th May, 2013. Clinical nurse manager, Fiona Monaghan Tyer gratefully accepted the very generous proceeds of this fundraising initiative on behalf of the entire Orthopaedic Unit.

7. New, hard hitting anti smoking adverts from HSE

The HSE’s QUIT campaign launched a new TV advert on 30th December, 2013 featuring an emotive message from Gerry Collins from Greystones in Co. Wicklow who has terminal lung cancer caused by smoking. Gerry and his family have generously volunteered to be part of this new phase of the QUIT campaign in the hope that their story will inspire and encourage smokers to quit.

In 2011, Gerry Collins was one of three people featured in the QUIT campaign’s films and TV adverts telling his story of recovery from tobacco related throat cancer. In Summer 2013, Gerry contacted the HSE to let us know that, sadly, he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and to ask if this new chapter in his story could form a new phase of the QUIT campaign which is a partnership between the HSE and the Irish Cancer Society.

You can QUIT – we can help

Thousands of people will make the decision to try to quit smoking this month – or later on this year. The HSE provide a range of free services that have been proven to double their chances of succeeding.

  • Visit and sign up for an online QUIT plan;

  • Call the QUITline 1850 201 203;

  • Join our Facebook support group (64,000 and growing);

  • Talk to your GP or pharmacist for help, and also supports and medications.

8. HSE Primary Care Facilities to become ‘Tobacco Free Campuses’

From Monday, 9th December, 2013 Laytown Primary Care Centre, Duleek Health Centre, Ashbourne Primary Care Centre, Kells Primary Care Centre and Kingscourt Primary Care Centre have become Tobacco Free Campuses.

This means that smoking is not be permitted anywhere within these health care facilities grounds or campuses, including in vehicles parked on these campuses and will apply to all staff, patients and visitors.

By introducing this new policy the HSE hope to help change social norms around tobacco use, treat tobacco addiction as a health care issue and promote smoking cessation by actively advising, encouraging and supporting people to quit smoking.

The HSE as the leading healthcare provider is committed to reducing the use of tobacco and its harmful health effects. As the national body responsible for health promotion, health protection and prevention of illnesses and disease, the HSE has adopted the National Tobacco Control Framework which states that all HSE campuses will become tobacco free by December 2015. The policy which is being introduced at these health care facilities will be rolled out on a phased basis at other facilities in the region in order to reach the target set down by the HSE.

9. ‘Power of Words’ means bibliotherapy is accessible to all

GPs, health professionals, their patients and members of the general public now have access to a new selection of self help books through the ‘Power of Words’ bibliotherapy scheme launched by Dublin’s Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn recently.

Bibliotherapy is the use of books for therapeutic purposes. There is very good evidence for the effectiveness of high quality self help books with psychological problems such as mild and moderate depression, anxiety, panic and eating disorders. Studies have demonstrated that the best books can produce results comparable to those of drug therapy or psychotherapy. It can be highly effective when used as the main source of help or in addition to prescribed medication or counselling.

A joint initiative between the HSE, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), and Dublin City Council’s library service, the collection features a selection of 97 books which have been read, reviewed and recommended by a group of psychologists and GPs working in Ireland as the best self help books available.

The ‘Power of Words’ brochure, with a list of the self help books, has been circulated to all GPs throughout the country and public libraries nationally. GPs and other professionals working in mental health, such as counsellors, nurses and psychologists, can recommend a high quality self help book from this list to patients with mild to moderate psychological problems.

Members of the public can also access the list and 150 word book reviews directly from the HSE website and Dublin City Libraries website

In order to make it easy for patients and members of the public to access the books, copies are freely available to borrow from public libraries around the country.

10. Child & Family Agency

On the 1st January 2014 the Child and Family Agency (the Agency) assumed service responsibility for the following range of services.

  • Child Welfare and Protection Services, including family support services;

  • Existing Family Support Agency responsibilities;

  • Existing National Educational Welfare Board responsibilities;

  • Pre-school Inspection Services;

  • Domestic, sexual and gender based violence services; and

  • Services related to the psychological welfare of children.

Under the Child and Family Act, 2013, the Child and Family Agency is now the dedicated state agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. The Agency operates under the remit of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Agency works with the Department to provide leadership to statutory and non-statutory agencies, to ensure that the conditions needed to achieve children’s wellbeing and development are fulfilled.

The Agency operates under the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, legislation which brings together the Child and Family Agency (the Agency) a number of child-related services ranging from family and educational supports to psychological supports and care and protection services. Children are at the heart of the legislation and families are seen as the foundation of a strong healthy community where children can flourish. Partnership and co-operation in the delivery of seamless services to children and families are also central to the Act.

Under the Act, the Agency is charged with:

  • supporting and promoting the development, welfare and protection of children, and the effective functioning of families;

  • Offering care & protection for children in circumstances where their parents have not been able to, or are unlikely to, provide the care that a child needs. In order to discharge these responsibilities, the Agency is required to maintain and develop the services needed in order to deliver these supports to children and families, and provide certain services for the psychological welfare of children and their families;

  • Responsibility for ensuring that every child in the State attends school or otherwise receives an education, and for providing education welfare services to support and monitor children’s attendance, participation and retention in education;

  • ensuring that the best interests of the child guide all decisions affecting individual children;

  • consulting children and families so that they help to shape the agency’s policies and services;

  • Strengthening interagency co-operation to ensure seamless services responsive to needs;

  • undertaking research relating to it functions, & provide information & advice to the Minister regarding those functions;

  • commissioning services relating to the provision of child and family services.

The Child and Family Agency’s services include a range of universal and targeted services:

  • Child protection and welfare services.

  • Educational Welfare Services.

  • Psychological Services.

  • Alternative care.

  • Family and Locally-based Community Supports.

  • Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Services.

11. Health Matters

A copy of the Winter 2013 issue of the HSE National Staff Newsletter Health Matters has been circulated for your information.

Rosaleen Harlin,

Lead Manager,

Regional Health Office – Dublin North East.