Innovation in Health is Vital for new Vision

Seán Sherlock TD
01 June 2016

Speaking in support of the creation of a new All-Party Committee on the future of healthcare in Ireland, Cork East Deputy Sean Sherlock has stressed the importance of research and academia in developing an attainable vision for the healthcare services in Ireland for the future. “Speaking as a former Minister of State for Research and Innovation, the last government created a health innovation hub, which was based in Cork,” said Deputy Sherlock.“We created a demonstrator model whereby we sought to utilise the best research that exists from a geographical perspective in terms of medical devices and services. We sought to inculcate the thinking that exists based on the research that is ongoing within our academic institutions as a means of seeking to ensure those greater efficiencies. I am not sure where the health innovation hub stands at present now that there is a new Government formed.”“However, I believe that innovation and engagement with stakeholders in the academic space is going to be vital. We will need a proper analysis of population figures and a sense of inculcating some of the thinking that exists within academic institutions to determine how we are going to provide the vision that is necessary.”Deputy Sherlock suggested that Primary Care Centres and Academic institutions should collaborate more to ensure more diagnostics take place in within primary care settings to prevent people from presenting to secondary and tertiary care facilities and to keep them at home for longer. “The data that is used can then be analysed and partnered with medical device companies, innovators in the health care provision space or academics to try to analyse the data so that we can then produce policy outcomes that deliver the efficiencies that are necessary for the system. We need more of that within the system. It is a case of mainstreaming that into the system because currently it is peripheral.”Deputy Sherlock also encouraged a greater interrogation of the relationship between the HSE and the Department of Health. “I believe there is still some siloed thinking in how the HSE, this House, the Department of Health and the Minister interact. We need a greater interrogation of that relationship to ensure that there is more transparency around it. We also need to look at why there is a constant need for a supplementary estimate on an ongoing basis. I say that objectively. Taking this year for example, if there is provision made at the start of the year for €13 billion, will this committee have a remit to examine and interrogate the deployment of resources more closely? We need to look at it in terms of seeking efficiencies for the system in order that the citizen can have confidence that he or she will have access to the services that are necessary, whether he or she presents to a GP, a secondary care facility or a tertiary care facility.”The Labour Party supported the creation of the All-Party Committee.

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