The International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) has today launched a paper in response to the recent resignations of the two most senior members of the team implementing the Sláintecare reform programme in Ireland and the restructuring of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council. The paper “Sláintecare: Delivering the promise of universal person-centred care in Ireland” is written by Dr Niamh Lennox-Chhugani, IFIC’s Chief Executive, and aims to contribute constructively to the debate about the best way forward for the programme drawing on IFIC’s expertise and international network’s knowledge to inform discussions.
In a statement responding to the publication, IFIC Ireland’s Chair, Dr Sloan Harper and Director, Professor Áine Carroll said:
“IFIC Ireland very much welcomes this perspective from the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC). As Ireland emerges from the pandemic, we owe it to our citizens and residents to truly commit to the delivery of person centred co-ordinated care. Now is the time to reflect and renew across the island of Ireland, building on what has been achieved but delivering change at scale. The time for talking is over. The time for action is now.”
The paper highlights that countries further down the road in delivering integrated community and person-centred care have recognised that bottom-up frontline change is an essential starting point but this will only take you so far. Without an enabling infrastructure at regional and national level, momentum and good-will will be lost at community level where it is most needed.
Using examples of integrated care at scale, and using the example of Denmark, the paper notes that regions having a critical role in:
- Creating the infrastructure for the analysis and synthesis of regional data to inform population health planning and feedback on results and impact;
- Providing systems leadership and governance through which new alliances of collaboration across sectors can be built and maintained;
- Creating the supporting infra-structure and governance for innovation with a focus on digital solutions through industry and research collaborations moving beyond traditional procurement models;
- Providing the information to support workforce planning and the specialist expertise for workforce development as new models scale and evolve.
The paper concludes that there is an opportunity now, as there always is when a large transformation programme experiences a change of leadership, to make a decision about shared commitment to the stated vision and how serious the Irish government is about creating the conditions for a new world-class health and care system in Ireland.