News and Events
Press Release: New Year’s Day to see families across the country get help with the cost of medication
In line with Sláintecare recommendations, starting 1 January 2018 drugs charges for Medical Card holders will be reduced from €2.50 to €2 per item and there will be a reduction in the monthly cap from €25 to €20.
Lack of 'effective' care causing almost 4,000 early deaths each year
“A lack of timely and effective healthcare is causing the early deaths of 3,800 people in Ireland annually from conditions such as heart disease, stroke and cancer, an EU report has warned.”
Opening Statement by Minister Harris at the Joint Committee on Health on 22 November 2017
Minister Harris spoke to the Health Committee on the topic of Sláintecare. In addition to providing the Department’s update on progress on Sláintecare, the Minister said: “This is the first time in our history that we have achieved consensus at a political level on the future direction of our health system. These opportunities don’t come around too often and I am determined to harness this political consensus and to work with colleagues across the political spectrum and with all stakeholders to move forward on a programme of health reform that will ultimately benefit the health of our citizens and our society.”
Department of Health trying to ‘capture’ healthcare reforms
“Ms Shortall, chair of the committee which drew up the Sláintecare report outlining a 10-year plan for healthcare, said the Government “must not let departmental interests slow this down and block progress”.
Dáil debate on Committee on the Future of Healthcare Report (Sláintecare)
Committee Chair Róisín Shortall said: “Sláintecare was and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something of real importance in this country and should be grasped with both hands by Government. We have a cross-party consensus on health policy for the first time which is key to making progress. For the first time we can take the politics out of health and end the situation that has existed for so long where health was used as a political football, to score points against each other. Sláintecare gives us the opportunity to do this as it is a fully costed, phased plan. It deals with the issues that go to the heart of the problems within our health service, namely the dysfunction that arises as a consequence of Ireland's two-tier system. That system is inequitable, very inefficient and is a huge barrier to people being able to live a life free from illness and worry over what will happen in the event of their developing an illness.” Read full debate at the link.
Pathways seminar news coverage
The Pathways Seminar on 19 September was covered in the Irish Independent. The article reports on the new data shared in the seminar and the finding that Irish "households are avoiding GP visits and dental care in order to afford the cost of rising private health insurance premiums". The article quoted Pathways team member Bridget Johnston with a warning: "The trend of cutting back on GP and dental care is a matter of concern. Delayed treatment risks health problems becoming more significant. It is a negative development. . . the spend on health insurance is squeezing out other services - these are health services we need now".
2017 Pathways Seminar
The Pathways team hosted their second seminar on 19 September at the Science Gallery at Trinity College. There was a full house with over 150 registered participants from a wide swath of interested parties which led to good interaction with inputs and engagement from the floor on the potential pathways to and outcomes of universal healthcare in Ireland. In addition to presentations from the Pathways team - Dr Steve Thomas, Dr Sara Burke, Dr Bridget Johnston, Dr Sarah Barry and Rikke Siersbaek - Roisin Shorthall, TD, Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare and Dr Josep Figueras Director of European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and head of the WHO European Centre on Health Policy in Brussels each presented.
For more details about the day, please view the agenda here
Slides from the presentations can be accessed here:
Pathways Team - Sláintecare Policy Brief
Dr Sara Burke spoke at a 'Health as a Human Right' Seminar
On 27 June 2017, Dr Sara Burke presented at a seminar hosted by the Community Platform and All Together in Dignity Ireland. Sara’s presentation was entitled ‘Why Ireland has never had a universal health system and will we ever have one?’ during which she traced the history of the Irish health system, assessed why we have never had universal healthcare and suggested we are now at a critical juncture where achieving universal healthcare is possible due to the recent publication of the Sláintecare report. The Chair of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare, Roisin Shortall, TD took part in a panel discussion on next steps for Sláintecare, alongside Sara Burke and Ronnie Ray from Pavee Point. There were inputs from Our Voices about Health project and assessment of how the Community Platform’s six principles for inclusive health policy intersected with Sláintecare.
Dail Debate on Sláintecare
On 22 June 2017, the Dáil debated Sláintecare, the Committee on the Future of Healthcare Report. Committee chair Roisin Shortall introduced the debate explaining how the work of the committee has differed from previous policy processes, saying: “From the outset, we decided that our approach would have a number of elements. We were determined that our work would be evidence-based. We said it was a priority to listen to service users and staff. We took expert advice, most notably from the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin, which worked very closely with us and guided us in developing our report. We learned from best practice in other countries and took advice from people like Allyson Pollock and Dr Josep Figueras of the OECD. We held expert-led workshops and agreed on a set of values and eight principles which would underpin our work.”
Dr Sarah Barry presented to HSE Integrated Care Programme
Dr Sarah Barry presented to a HSE Integrated Care Programme for Older Persons pioneer sites meeting on 21 June 2017. Drawing on her systematic review, Sarah discussed the gap in the scientific literature on the topic of organisational challenges to implementing Universal Healthcare. As part of the Pathways project, upcoming research is planned to fill that gap. HSE Managers in the Integrated Care Programme for Older Persons are invited to take part in case studies to uncover potential learnings from their experiences in implementing integrated care in various settings in Ireland. Studying the implementation of integrated care will contribute to the knowledge base on implementing Universal Healthcare because both accrue to the same goals - in other words integrated care is the preferred method for implementing Universal Healthcare. Attendees responded with enthusiasm and great interest for the research which is due to commence in September, and a number of them are keen to take part.
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
Pathways team members author the Irish page for the WHO’s Health Systems and Policy Monitor. Dr Sara Burke and Dr Steve Thomas recently wrote a Health Policy Update for the site about the recent work with the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. Read it for a short synopsis of Sláintecare. Click here for the link and click the image to see where to find the report on the HSPM website.
Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare
From November 2016 to May 2017, the Pathways team provided technical support for the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. Initially, the team hosted three workshops with the Committee and then assisted the Committee with its remit ‘to devise cross-party agreement on a single long-term vision for health care and direction of health policy in Ireland’.
On the 30 May 2017, the Committee published its final report. According the Committee’s chairperson, Roisin Shortall TD, ‘the formation of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare provided a unique and historic opportunity for TDs from across the political spectrum to come together to develop consensus on a long-term policy direction for Ireland’s healthcare system. Our task has been to consider how best to ensure that, in future, everyone has access to an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system, in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay’.
Dr Sarah Barry at the International Conference on Integrated Care
Dr. Sarah Barry presented at the International Conference on Integrated Care which took place in Dublin 8-10 May, 2017. Sarah presented on the topic of organisational challenges to implementing universal healthcare sharing findings from the systematic review which is a key element of the Pathways project. The Review answers the question: What organisational challenges can be identified during implementation of universal health care/coverage policies in health systems in countries with a GDP per capita greater than $22,000?
Dr Sara Burke at HRB30 Conference
Dr Sara Burke was a speaker at the HRB30 conference on 30 November 2016. The conference was a celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Health Research Board (link to HRB30) and featured research projects who have used HRB funding 'to provide outstanding evidence to support positive changes in health policy or practice'. Central to the presentation was the Centre’s HRB funded work under the leadership of Dr Steve Thomas on our previous Resilience project and our current Pathways project. The conference showcased how research evidence can significantly improve the level and efficiency of services in the Irish healthcare system.
Dr Steve Thomas at Policy Forum for Ireland
Dr Steve Thomas gave a presentation entitled Making Headway towards UHC to the Policy Forum for Ireland on 9 November. The transcript of the presentation (scroll down to page 40!) and the slides give an overview of our current progress on the Pathways project.
Dr Sara Burke gave evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare
Dr Sara Burke, the coordinator of the Pathways project presented to the Oireachtas select committee on 5th October 2016 on the topic of inequality and access to healthcare in Ireland.
- Opening Statement
- Opening Statement The full transcript of the Committee’s deliberations on 5 October
- A video of the presentation
Mapping the Pathways to Universal Healthcare in Ireland. First Seminar. 22 September 2015. The Hub, Trinity College Dublin
Our first Pathways seminar took place in September 2015. The agenda with links to the presentations given provide many details about the work completed up to that stage.