Skip to content
News / May 9, 2008

Health strategy service user goals to be implemented on a national basis

by Guy Hiscott

The Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, and the CEO of the HSE, Professor Brendan Drumm, have launched the National Strategy for Service User Involvement in the Irish Health Service.

Consisting of seven goals, the Strategy will build on current good practice in involving service users (i.e. patients, their families, voluntary and community organisations) across the country.

The goals identified by the Strategy are:
1. Develop a Patients’ Charter and service quality guarantees that patients can expect when they use the health services
2. Patients will be enabled to become more involved in their own health care and decisions and choices affecting their health
3. Children, young people and the socially excluded groups will be specifically listened to in order to identify their needs in accessing health services
4. A systematic approach that evaluates current mechanisms for involving users will be adopted and the best approaches will be implemented in al parts of the country
5. Commitment to this strategy will be evident from the involvement of user groups in all healthcare planning and the success of this will be evaluated each year
6. Primary care team development will be achieved in dialogue with the local community, community care services will listen to users and their families, and hospitals will develop consumer panels to ensure that patients’ views inform the running of the hospital system
7. Training and support to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy will be provided to HSE staff.
Produced by the Department of Health & Children and the HSE in consultation with the Health Services Partnership Forum, HIQA, advocacy groups and service users, the principles of the strategy apply to all who use health and social services, those who participate in health programmes and services, and those who work in the health service.

Launching the Strategy, the Minister said: ‘The role of the service user has been central to government health policy and while much good work has been done to build the voice of the service user into decisions in health care, we need to ensure that best practice in this area is disseminated to all parts of the health service.

‘With the successful implementation of this strategy, for example, primary care teams will be sitting down with their patients developing models of service provision that meet their needs. Older people and their families will be engaged in discussions about the quality of their community care provision.’

Speaking at the launch, HSE CEO Prof Brendan Drumm commented: ‘Members of the public can bring great clarity, practicality and transparency to the development of truly patient-centred services. They can act as a valuable reference point to ensure that the decisions and actions of clinicians and managers always put the needs of the people who use our services first.

‘This strategy document represents a significant step forward in actively involving the public in this programme of change. Working in partnership with other statutory and voluntary organisations and staff representative bodies, the HSE is taking a lead role in overseeing the implementation of this strategy.’

The HSE now plans to implement this Strategy nationally and will evaluate its success on an annual basis.