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Home > HSE services in 2014 – illicit drugs, smoking and alcohol misuse.

Pike, Brigid (2014) HSE services in 2014 – illicit drugs, smoking and alcohol misuse. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 49, Spring 2014, pp. 21-22.

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Approved by the Minister for Health on 17 December 2013, the HSE’s National Service Plan 2014 sets out the type and volume of services the HSE will provide during 2014.1 With the health services budget for the year reflecting cost reductions of €619 million, and against a backdrop of a reduction in overall health service funding of almost €4 billion since 2008 and staff reductions of over 10,000 in that time, the HSE’s top priority in 2014 is to protect the volume, quality and safety of frontline services.
Social Inclusion Services
‘Addiction issues’ are addressed by Social Inclusion Services in the Primary Care Division of the HSE. Social Inclusion Services support equity of access to services and provide targeted interventions to improve the health outcomes of minority groups, including Irish Travellers, Roma, and other members of diverse ethnic and cultural groups, such as asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service users. Specific interventions are provided to address addiction issues, homelessness and medical complexities.
The key priorities for 2014 that may be expected to have an impact on addiction issues are set out on p.37 of the plan:
-    achieve improved health outcomes for persons with addiction issues;
-    deliver on the national policy objectives of the national drugs strategy 2009–2016,2 with specific reference to progressing implementation of relevant actions on early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation;
-    implement recommendations from Health Service Opioid Treatment Protocol;
-    implement recommendations with regard to Tier 4 in the residential addiction services report3 within the context of available resources;
-    evaluate the Pharmacy Needle Exchange Programme and make recommendations;
-    finalise the implementation plan for the National Overdose Prevention Strategy;
-    prioritise and implement Health Service actions in the report on a national substance misuse strategy;4
-    implement recommendations of the national hepatitis C strategy5 according to updated time frames and in line with existing resource constraints; and
-    implement the specific health aspects of a housing-led approach to homelessness in line with the nationalhomelessness policy statement.6 


Health and Wellbeing Division
Smoking and alcohol misuse are addressed by the Health and Wellbeing Division of the HSE, which provides people with knowledge, services and supports to help them live healthier and more fulfilled lives. In 2014, in order to reduce the chronic disease burden, this division has identified the following ‘key priorities’:
-    support a package of programmes to reduce alcohol misuse;
-    produce an implementation plan for recommendations identified in both the national substance misuse strategy report3 and the 2013 tobacco control strategy;7 and
-    integrate and develop a one-stop model for all smoking cessation services in the health service.
Among the key performance indicators for the Health and Wellbeing Division are two tobacco-related indicators:
-    Number of frontline healthcare staff trained in brief-intervention smoking cessation: 1,350
-    Number of smokers receiving intensive cessation support from a cessation counsellor:  9,000
The Health and Wellbeing Division will also work to enforce the Public Health (Tobacco) Actand other tobacco control legislation, targeting areas of least compliance.
1. Health Service Executive (2013) Health service national service plan 2014. Dublin: Health Service Executive.  
2. Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (2009) National drugs strategy (interim) 2009–2016. Dublin: Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
3. Corrigan D and O'Gorman A (2007) Report of the HSE working group on residential treatment & rehabilitation (substance users). Dublin: Health Service Executive.
4. Department of Health (2012) Steering group report on a national substance misuse strategy. Dublin: Department of Health.
5. HSE National Social Inclusion (2012) National hepatitis C strategy 2011–2014. Dublin: Health Service Executive.
6. Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (2013) Homelessness policy statement. Dublin: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
7. Tobacco Policy Review Group (2013) Tobacco free Ireland. Dublin: Department of Health.


Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 49, Spring 2014
April 2014
Page Range
pp. 21-22
Health Research Board
Issue 49, Spring 2014
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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