Under the Programme for Government, the Government has committed to removing the regional disparities in the provision and funding of palliative care, and to ensuring that the needs of all those who require palliative care are met. The Department of Health and Children is committed to working with the HSE and other key stakeholders in developing palliative care services throughout Ireland.
Funding is being provided for the development of palliative care services in line with the recommendations in the Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care (2001) and in the context of available resources and workforce planning across the health service. Additional funding totalling €18 million was provided by the Government in Budgets 2006 and 2007. A further €3 million was allocated under Budget 2008 to develop services. This funding is being used to improve palliative care services in consultation with the HSE Regional Development Committees and in line with the recommendations made in the 2001 Report.
At present, there are approx 157 specialist palliative care beds available nationally. Of these, there are 54 in Dublin/Mid Leinster, 19 in Dublin/North East, 26 in HSE South, and 58 in HSE West.
The HSE is continuing to work on implementing the Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care (2001) and is now developing a five-year implementation framework, in consultation with the Irish Association for Palliative Care, the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society. Work is ongoing on the development of this plan and good progress has been made to date.