Reilly outlines health service reform
Minister for Health James Reilly has unveiled ambitious new plans for the future of the health service, which will see free GP care for all introduced in 2015.
Dr Reilly today published a document which sets out a phased approach that will be taken to introducing Universal Health Insurance in 2016.
“Future Health” contains a list of specific actions, with timelines, that will prepare the way for UHI, he said.
“The goal is to put the needs of the patient at the centre of the health system. The essential public nature of the health system will not be changed.” The financial pressures on the system made it even more important that comprehensive health reform was introduced.
The first phase in the introduction of free GP care will see GP cards given to people on long-term illnesses by the middle of next year, Minister of State Alex White told the press conference.
The document proposes a new focus on keeping people healthy while moving away from simply treating ill people. There will also be a move away from the current hospital-centred model of care toward a new model of integrated care that treats patients at the lowest level of complexity that is safe, timely, efficient and as close to home as possible.
Structural reform is key to addressing the problems of the health service, according to the document, which emphasises the need for good governance, the avoidance of duplication and a strong regional focus in delivering value for money.
The first phase of the change process will see the HSE made more accountable to the Minister while in the second the organisation will be dissolved. The system will then move from being entirely tax-funder to a mix of tax funding and UHI.