Health Strategy 2001

Development of new Strategy

Guiding principles and themes
The guiding principles underpinning the new Strategy are likely to emphasise a more people centred/consumer oriented system, an analysis of cross-sectoral issues affecting health status and the development of integrated sets of quality services, accessed on the basis of need. There will also be strong focus on equity.

In addition to the agendas for service and professional development referred to above, key themes of the new Strategy are expected to include health futures, health promotion/population health, quality, information systems and e-health, delivery systems including human resource issues, funding and eligibility.

A participative approach and intensive consultation process is seen as crucial to the process of developing the new Strategy. Lead responsibility for production of the Strategy has been assigned to a Steering Group chaired by the Secretary General, Department of Health and Children (DOHC), and comprising the Department's Management Advisory Committee and a number of health board/Authority Chief Executive Officers. A Project Team has been established to produce the Strategy document under the overall leadership of the Steering Group. It includes representatives of the Department of Health and Children and of the health boards/Authority.

Gaining an understanding of the difficulties ordinary people face in achieving a better health status is essential to planning improvements. This underlines the need for a comprehensive consultation process. Accordingly, a broad ranging consultation process with the public, service users and providers and key stakeholders has been initiated. A National Health Strategy Consultative Forum, representative of key stakeholders in the health services, including health professionals, management and consumers and chaired by Dr Danny O'Hare, has been established to provide advice to the Steering Group. Its inaugural meeting, scheduled for early March, was cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth crisis. However, meetings of focused sub-groups of the Consultative Forum looking at key themes will take place over the next couple of months. It is hoped to hold the first plenary meeting of the Consultation Forum on Monday, 23rd April.

In addition to the Consultative Forum, members of the general public and other interested parties will be consulted in a number of ways including a national advertisement inviting submissions and local level consultation.

In recognition of the cross-sectoral issues impacting on health, an Inter-Departmental Group is also planned to promote cross-departmental linkages. The Departments of Finance; Environment and Local Government; Education and Science; Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and Social, Community and Family Affairs will be invited to participate in this.