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Health Service Executive. (2021) HSE national service plan 2021. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

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The year 2021 presents us with three key opportunities. Firstly, we must keep the population, patients and service users safe in our services; secondly, we must concentrate our efforts on addressing, as far as possible, backlog issues from pauses due to COVID-19, and, thirdly and perhaps most importantly, we must move from talking about reform to implementing reform, across our entire service delivery model.

Community Healthcare spans primary care services, social inclusion services, older persons’ and palliative care services, disability services and mental health services. This part of the Plan details how these services will be significantly strengthened in 2021, thereby moving away from the prevailing hospital-centric model of healthcare delivery. In 2021, the enhanced community care (ECC) programme will establish 96 CHNs and 32 community specialist teams for older people and people living with chronic disease / lifelong conditions. This section sets out actions to build general practitioners’ (GPs’) capacity in line with the GP Agreement 2019, progress the roll-out of eHealth initiatives, increase GP access to diagnostics and provide an additional 18 GP training places. Commitments are made to expand and develop new models of care in the National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme and across homeless services and to roll out specific harm reduction approaches within drug and alcohol services.

P.55 Social Inclusion Services

The improvement of health outcomes for socially excluded groups in society is a key priority. Through social inclusion programmes, the HSE seek to meet government commitments as set out in the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021, National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021, and the National Drug Strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery – A health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025, supporting more effective social inclusion services.

P.56 Drug and alcohol services

  • Continue the roll-out of specific harm reduction approaches including support for the additional 700 people brought into opioid substitution treatment during COVID-19 and increase naloxone provision
  • Develop community based drug and alcohol services and family support services, including the Dublin North East Inner City initiative and the Galway alcohol service and services for pregnant and post-natal women
  • Expand services for women who use drugs and alcohol in a harmful way
  • In line with a health-led approach to drug use, co-lead on the phased implementation of the Health Diversion Programme with the DoH including the targeted expansion of SAOR screening and brief intervention and the roll-out of a national drug awareness campaign
  • Expand the capacity and availability of the HSE Drug and Alcohol Helpline
  • Establish a medically supervised injecting facility in Merchants Quay Ireland, subject to confirmation of planning permission
  • In agreement with DoH, support the development of an area-based approach to community health and wellbeing improvement with a particular focus on areas of deprivation with the implementation of a new community-based integrated alcohol services across primary and acute settings.


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