Minister launches South East Community Healthcare’s “Healthy Ireland” implementation plan – HSE

by admin on 10/01/2019

The Minister of State at the Dept. of Health with special responsibiltiy for Health Promotion Ms. Catherine Byrne T.D. was in Kilkenny today to launch South East Community Healthcare’s “Healthy Ireland” implementation plan.

The South East Community Healthcare organisation delivers Primary Care (including community services), Social Care (including services for disabilities and older people), Mental Health and Health and Wellbeing services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. 

The government supported Healthy Ireland Framework 2013-2025 underpins Ireland’s response to its changing health and wellbeing profile. It identifies a healthy population as a major asset for society and sets the improvement in the health and wellbeing of the nation as a priority. The Framework draws on existing policies but also proposes new arrangements to ensure effective co-operation and collaboration to implement evidence based policies at government, sectoral, community and local levels. 

The aim of our Healthy Ireland Plan for the South East Community Healthcare (SECH) area is to support people living in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford to be happy, healthy and well, in order to reach their full potential. In setting out the Plan, SECH is aware that many factors can influence a person’s health, such as where they live and work; their access to education and to job opportunities; their individual lifestyle choices; their social supports and access to amenities such as clean water and transport. Because health can be influenced by many determinants outside of the health service itself, SECH is linking closely with partners, through joint committees such as the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) of the five local authorities in the South East and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSCs) in each of the five counties to ensure that agencies are all working together to create a happier, healthier region. Routes and strategies to achieve these goals, in which all people and all parts of society can participate, are set out in the Plan.

Speaking at the Official Launch in the Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle, Minister Byrne said:

“Work has been ongoing at local level in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford as regards promotion of the ‘Healthy Ireland’ vision. I am delighted that South East Community Healthcare will compliment that with its own implementation plan, towards the shared aim of a healthy Ireland where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential – where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility. The South East plan sets out how we can increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life, reduce health inequalities, protect the public from threats to health and wellbeing and create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland.”

In her contribution, the National Director of Strategic Planning and Transformation for the HSE, Dr. Stephanie O’ Keeffe welcomed the plan, saying:

“The Dept. of Health’s Sláintecare Implementation Plan 2018 is seeking to embed the principles of ‘Healthy Ireland’ in the design of all models of care, so that they permeate interactions between the health services and the public. As is the case with the South East plan, we recognise the key leadership role the health system needs to continue to play in driving this whole system shift towards a culture that places greater emphasis and value on prevention and keeping people well, and that over time will realise the vision of ‘Healthy Ireland’.”

Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare (SECH) Ms. Kate Killeen White also addressed the launch, saying:

“I would like to thank all of those involved in producing the plan. Improving health and wellbeing and preventing ill health often comes down to people making small, and sometimes not so small, changes in their lifestyles and behaviours. This Plan demonstrates a fantastic commitment by everyone working in SECH to making those changes. The Plan being launched today is a significant milestone, showing commitment, leadership and determination to ensure the protection and improvement of the health and wellbeing of everyone in the region served by SECH and by all of those who work in the service. We are actively implementing the aims of ‘Healthy Ireland’ in our own delivery of services, in co-operation with the public and various agencies active in the community and among our own staff.” 

Presentations made at the launch on ‘Healthy Ireland’ initiatives already under way in the South East included: Health Service Excellence Award winning public health nursing and oral health early intervention project in Waterford; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) support groups and self management support directory for the South East; Traveller Health chronic conditions toolkit; “Cook it” demonstrations for SECH staff on healthy eating and “Work Positive” stakeholder supported psycho-social risk management process that helps organisations identify ways to improve employee wellbeing. In addition, there were display stands at the launch in relation to tobacco free Ireland, healthy clubs, oral hygiene awareness, regional flu planning and the “Making Every Contact Count” (MECC) health promotion and improvement approach.

In her summary, South East Community Healthcare’s Head of Service for Health and Wellbeing, Dr. Derval Howley said: 

“In addition to partnership working, our plan focuses on positively influencing the lifestyle choices that people make in relation to smoking, alcohol, sexual health, healthy eating and physical activity. Our health services protect our population from threats to their health and wellbeing through the provision of immunisation and vaccination programmes and infectious disease monitoring. We work with our National Health Services to reduce morbidity by enhancing the up-take of screening programmes such as BreastCheck, CervicalCheck, Bowelscreen and Diabetic RetinaScreen. Our healthcare teams are committed to supporting people at all stages of life, from the very young through to positive ageing for our older population. We adopt a life course approach to promoting Health and Wellbeing.” 

“There are challenges. We know that the greatest population growth within the South East is among our older adults. the increase will also be reflected in numbers of carers. We have many population groups in our region who have specific health needs. The uptake of our childhood immunisation programme in SECH needs to be above the national target of 95%. The uptake of the staff influenza vaccine, whilst improving, must increase. There has been an increase in the number of people with self-reported poor health in SECH compared to 2011. It is important that we also ensure that our workforce is happy, healthy and well. We look forward, however, to continuing to work with everyone, to make the South East a happy, healthy place for people to live, work and grow.”


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