Minister Stephen Donnelly

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has announced the Government’s approval for the redesignation of four hospice organisations from Section 39 service level agreements with the HSE, to Section 38 agreements.

The redesignation will provide a sustainable model of care for adult specialist palliative care services in Ireland and ensure the provision of these core services into the future.

Minister Donnelly said: “We are rightly very proud of our palliative care services in Ireland. We have seen the spread and range of services grow significantly over the last 20 years. This has been in strong collaboration with the voluntary sector and the HSE. We must now ensure that the sustainability of these core services is protected into the future.

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“The redesignation of these four voluntary hospice providers – Marymount Care Centre, Milford Care Centre, Galway Hospice and St. Francis Hospice, will align all voluntary adult hospices to Section 38.

“In addition, it will provide financial and staffing sustainability to ensure that these providers of adult specialist palliative care services can continue their vital work.

“Specialist adult in-patient palliative care services provided by voluntary hospices are unique within the broad range of Section 39 organisations due to the consultant led, complex clinical care they provide.

“These service providers are supporting people with life limiting illnesses to remain at home and in their communities while receiving specialist palliative care. We value the essential adult specialist palliative care services provided by these four organisations and the benefits the care they provide give to people with life limiting illnesses and their families.”

Currently, approximately 70% of inpatient and 74% of community adult specialist palliative care services are provided by voluntary hospices.

The Department of Health will carry out an evaluation of the redesignation to ensure an appropriate level of resources are secured and to assist in the transition to section 38 service level agreements.

The redesignation will take place before the end of 2022.

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