The Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to publish a plan for advancing neuro-rehabilitation services in the community.
The Health Service Executive recently published its implementation framework in respect of the recommendations of the National Policy and Strategy for the provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland 2011-2015. This was the culmination of the work of the National Steering Group established in 2017, which included representation from stakeholder groups including the Neurological Alliance of Ireland.
The focus of the Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy is on achieving best outcomes for people, by providing safe, high quality, person-centred care at the lowest appropriate level of complexity. This must be integrated across the care pathway and provided as close to home as possible or in specialist centres, where necessary.
The framework will guide the reconfiguration and development of neuro-rehabilitation structures and services at national and local level, through a 10-step Framework.
It proposes the formation of Managed Clinical Rehabilitation Networks (MCRNs), with the set-up of one demonstration MCRN suggested as the first step.
The ultimate goal of this approach is to put in place a national framework of acute, inpatient and specialist community services.
The Managed Clinical Rehabilitation Network (MCRN) model acknowledges that different service users need different input and different levels of expertise and specialisation at different stages in their rehabilitation journey.
The critical point of this model is that, although service users may need to access different services as they progress, the transition between services should be facilitated by appropriate communication and sharing of information between services so that they progress in a seamless continuum of care through the different stages:
- Acute hospital;
- Complex specialist rehabilitation services;
- Post-acute specialist inpatient rehabilitation services;
- Community based specialist rehabilitation services;
- Primary care; and
- Voluntary organisations.
This National Implementation Framework is evidence-based and informed by population needs. It addresses the continuum of care for those in need of neurological rehabilitation services. It describes the requirement for a whole system approach and provides the blueprint for how we should deliver care and services for those who suffer from neurological conditions who require individualised, goal focused rehabilitation
The implementation framework covers an initial period from 2019 into 2021. However, it is recognised that continued investment in and development of neuro-rehabilitation services will need to be prioritised beyond the three-year implementation period of this Implementation Framework.
As this a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.