€20m Needed to Fund Sláintecare Integration, According to The Wheel
The Wheel has called on the Government to invest €20 million in the Sláintecare Integration Fund to build more effective partnerships between voluntary service providers, the HSE, and the Department of Health. Voluntary service providers currently provide one-quarter of acute hospital services and approximately two-thirds of services to people with disabilities[i].
Speaking ahead of the announcement of Budget 2022 next week, Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at The Wheel said, “The Sláintecare Integration Fund is a key part of the Sláintecare Action Plan 2019 that establishes the building blocks for a significant shift in the way in which health services are delivered in Ireland. Voluntary service providers will play a key role in this shift, but investment is required to fund innovation in the way these services will be delivered in partnership with the state.
“We welcome the progress being made through the Health Dialogue Forum following the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on the learnings in the National Economic and Social Council’s (NESC) report, Building a New Relationship between Voluntary Organisations and the State in the Health and Social Care Sectors, the Forum aims to build a stronger relationship between the State and the voluntary healthcare sector by agreeing principles to support positive relationships; introducing changes to support essential services; reviewing and simplifying service agreements so that they support autonomy and accountability; avoiding duplication in reporting; and moving to multi-annual budgeting, ” said Ivan Cooper.
In addition to the €20 million in the Sláintecare Integration Fund, The Wheel also recommend:
- Significantly increasing budgets for community and voluntary organisations who provide HSE and Tusla services and currently remain underfunded.
- As the Forum progresses in its work, adequate enabling resources should be assigned to ensure outcomes are actioned speedily and effectively.
- €5m fund for innovation and service integration to be introduced to support collaborations as part of Tusla’s work to advance commissioning.
- €500,000 be provided by Tusla to support good governance training and advice for Tusla-funded organisations in the community and voluntary sector.
- Generalizing the approach developed in the Health Dialogue Forum to develop a new formal framework for collaborative working between voluntary organisations and their statutory counterparts. As part of this process, establishing a dedicated budget of €2m to incentivise and cover the cost of mergers and collaborative work in the charity sector.
“Charities and community organisations played a key part in sustaining communities during the crisis, restructured their services to deliver remotely, cut costs, redirected resources to priority areas and designed new services targeted at meeting new needs. Budget 2022 must prioritise a fair economic recovery that acknowledges and resources voluntary and community-based activity for the benefit of all,” said Ivan Cooper.
[i] Report of the Independent Review Group established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal social services