Dáil Éireann - Volume 612 - 15 December, 2005

Written Answers - Primary Care Strategy.

  160. Mr. Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the amount of public money which has been spent under the primary care strategy since 2001. [39985/05]

  Ms Harney: Implementation of the primary care strategy is first and foremost about developing new ways of working and of reorganising the resources already available to the health service in line with the service model described in the strategy. The whole-system nature of the approach to implementation is such that change will be required in many sectors in the health service, and not solely within primary care itself. While certain funding has been provided specifically to support implementation, additional resources allocated to other sectors will also support the delivery of services in line with the aims of the strategy. This is, of course, in addition to the very substantial funding already used to enable the delivery of a wide range of primary and community care services to the population.

[1306] This year, the annual revenue funding provided specifically to support the implementation of the primary care strategy is €12 million. To date, capital funding of €2.725 million and a further €1.8 million in respect of ICT supports has also been provided for the initial primary care teams. These allocations have funded a range of primary care related initiatives, principally: service developments in specific locations; planning and mapping work by the HSE; a review of ICT needs in primary care; support to university departments of general practice and the Irish College of General Practitioners; and research fellowships in primary care.

My Department is providing additional revenue funding of €16 million for 2006. This tranche of funding will enable: the appointment of some 300 additional front-line personnel to work alongside GPs in between 75 and 100 teams in the improved delivery of community primary care services; the establishment of an additional 22 GP training places; and the further development of GP out-of-hours co-operatives to enable an estimated 350,000 additional persons to benefit from such services.

This means that €28 million will be available in 2006 specifically to support the implementation of the primary care strategy. However, other development funding will also be used to support the development of services in line with the principles of the strategy. I have recently announced very substantial increases in funding for services for older people, amounting to €150 million in a full year.

A significant proportion of this additional funding will be used to enable primary care and community-based services for older people, including a range of supports such as home care packages and home help services, to be expanded. This is in line with international trends and also reflects the growing desire of older people to be able to remain living in their own communities.