Dáil Éireann - Volume 668 - 25 November, 2008
Written Answers. - Health Services.
Deputy Andrew Doyle Deputy Andrew Doyle
Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if the pilot programme to include the services of a dietitian in the regional health centres of three north-west counties, namely, Donegal, Sligo and Roscommon, will be extended to all other counties; and the strategy for the provision of dietitian’s services in the community health centres nationwide. [33357/08]
Deputy Mary Wallace Deputy Mary Wallace
Deputy Mary Wallace: The Health Strategy 2001 sets out a new direction for primary care as the central focus of the delivery of health and personal social services in Ireland. It promotes a team-based approach to service provision which will help to build capacity in primary care and contribute to sustainable health and social development.
The re-configured Primary Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) services will deliver health and social care services that are population based. The model will comprise multi-disciplinary Primary Care Teams (PCTs) providing needs assessed services, both existing and enhanced, to local communities of approximately 8000 people. The PCTs will be supported by Health and Social Care Networks (HSCNs) serving 30 — 50,000 people and will deliver the required services to the client. Both PCTs and HSCNs will have important functions with regard to health promotion, population health and early intervention. These functions will be linked to specific disease and health promotion strategies, with a particular focus on chronic disease management.
The aim of the Community Nutrition & Dietetic Service is to improve the nutritional status of the population belonging to the primary care teams and networks and reduce the incidence of nutrition-related disorders through all life stages. This service is uniquely equipped to achieve a balance between health promotion, population health and primary care services in chronic disease prevention and management.
It is envisaged that dietitians will work at HSCN level and be aligned to specialist teams. It is important for the future that dietitians are fully integrated in the provision of services and are not ‘stand alone’ or in hospitals. They will be part of multi-disciplinary teams undertaking specific targeted objectives, disease programmes etc. In this regard it may be that the local  health needs assessment will indicate a particularly targeted intervention programme in a specific geographic area and dietitians will be assigned over a number of PCTs. A detailed national mapping exercise was carried out which identified the future Primary Care Teams and Health and Social Care Networks. In addition, each PCT will carry out a local health needs assessment to determine the services required in each team population.
I wish to advise that 14.5 dietetic posts were identified for recruitment as part of the 2006 development posts of which 12.5 posts have been filled. In addition, 13.5 dietetic posts have been identified for recruitment for primary care in 2009. These posts will complement the reconfigured dietetic posts to provide an essential service to Primary Care Teams and Networks.
Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 74.
Dáil Éireann 668 Written Answers. Health Services.