The new nine Community Healthcare Organisations, which are to be established will consist of 90 Primary Care Networks, each of which provides services to approximately 50,000 people. Maureen Browne reports.
Nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) are to be established to replace the Integrated Services Areas (ISAs) as part of the reorganisation of the country’s community health services.
CHOs will cover primary care, social care (involving services for older persons and for persons with a disability), mental health and health and wellbeing and it is envisaged that they will provide more integrated access to specialist services in social care, mental health and health and well being.
The new nine Community Health Organisations will consist of 90 Primary Care Networks, each of which provides services to approximately 50,000 people. Each CHO will have an average of 10 networks to support groups of Primary Care Teams.
The Primary Care Network is recommended as the fundamental unit or organisation for the delivery of services. A network is planned for every large town or district in the country
Each CHO will have a Chief Officer, who will have full responsibility and accountability for the delivery of all primary, community, social and continuing care services within the catchment area, ensuring the appropriate integration with secondary care services and with all appropriate stakeholders.
The first step towards implementation will be the appointment of Chief Officers, with a view to their taking up responsibility in January 2015.
It is envisaged that the CHO Management/Leadership Team will include a Head of Primary Care, a Head of Social Care, a Head of Mental Health, a Head of Health and Wellbeing, a Lead in Quality and Professional Development, a GP Lead and Heads of Business Support functions.
Each Primary Care Network will have a Manager, who working with a GP Lead will be responsible for prioritising and managing the delivery of primary care services while ensuring effective integration of other specialised services, e.g. social care, mental health and access to acute hospital provision. Each Network will also have a management/leadership team.
According to the HSE, the new structure will involve reduction in management structures at a senior level – with new roles and responsibilities achieved by reassigning existing staff.
The reorganisation follows a report, ‘Community Healthcare Organisations – Report and Recommendations of the Integrated Service Area Review Group’, which set out how health services, outside of acute hospitals, would be organised and managed.
The team that carried out the review, led by Mr. Pat Healy, HSE National Director Social Care, consulted widely with more than 600 multi-disciplinary health service staff and 40 representative groups.
Following the publication of the report, an intensive communication and engagement process is to be undertaken, including feedback to all those involved in the original consultation, together with other staff and partners in the wider health service.
The HSE said that a national steering group will oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations and the first step towards implementation will be the appointment of Chief Officers, with a view to their taking up responsibility in January 2015.
The proposed nine new CHO areas
- Area 1 – Population 389,048
Donegal LHO, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan LHO and Cavan/Monaghan LHO.
- Area 2 – Population 445,356
Galway, Roscommon and Mayo LHOs.
- Area 3 – Population 379,327
Clare LHO, Limerick LHO and North Tipperary/East Limerick LHO.
- Area 4 – Population 664,533
Kerry LHO, North Cork LHO, North Lee LHO, South Lee LHO and West Cork LHO.
- Area 5 – Population 497,578
South Tipperary LHO, Carlow/Kilkenny LHO, Waterford LHO and Wexford LHO
- Area 6 – Population 364,464
Wicklow LHO, Dun Laoghaire LHO and Dublin South East LHO.
- Area 7 – Population 674,071
Kildare/West Wicklow LHO, Dublin West LHO, Dublin South City LHO and Dublin South West LHO.
- Area 8 – Population 592,388
Laois/Offaly LHO, Longford/Westmeath LHO, Louth LHO and Meath LHO.
- Area 9 – Population 581,486
Dublin North LHO, Dublin North Central LHO and Dublin North West LHO.