National Clinical Programme for People with Disability

Under the auspices of the Chief Clinical Officer, the HSE established the National Clinical Programme for People with Disability (NCPPD) in March 2020.  Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) embraced a social and human rights-based model of service provision for people with disability, across all sectors.  This presented an opportunity to develop a clinical governance structure to support the design and development of a clinical programme to achieve three distinct goals:

  1. Place the service user, their family, community and representative organisations at the centre of the programme, with decision making influence.
  2. Build on the structure of Operations, Strategy & Planning, and Clinical programmes as three interdependent but distinctive legs of the service provision stool.
  3. Promote professional excellence across disciplines while enabling broad and equitable representation on an interdisciplinary advisory group.

The NCPPD is for people with physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities; incorporating those with chronic illnesses or frailty; and those with transitory as well as more permanent impairments.  For the 13.5% of the population in Ireland who report that they have a disability, the NCPPD seeks to support the provision of effective and efficient assessments, interventions, and supports for people with disability; that are evidence-informed and context-appropriate, and are provided within a social and rights based model of disability.

The Programme Architecture (PDF, size 3.1 MB, 1 page)

Governance Structure for the National Clinical Programme for People with Disability

The reporting relationships for the NCPPD are similar to those of other clinical programmes; reporting through a National Clinical Adviser and Group Lead (NCAGL) to the National Lead for Integrated Care and to the Chief Clinical Officer. The conventional Clinical Advisory Group is renamed the Disability Advisory Group (DAG – around 20 people), comprised of service users and representative groups, and multi-disciplinary professional representation with each profession being represented on the DAG by the Chair of a Profession (Specific) Committee.  These committees (around 5-10 people providing different sub-disciplinary perspectives) are nominated by the Health and Social Care Professions (HSCP) Office, the Office of Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (ONMSD), and the National Clinical Programmes in consultation with the Office of the Chief Clinical Officer. There is also a nominee in each Profession Committee for Third Level, to link directly with education and training at this level. Task Groups are short-life working groups focusing on specific, confined and time-limited tasks; with service user, other stakeholder and profession-specific contributors, along with co-opted members for particular expertise. 

The NCPPD works closely with Operations and with Strategy and Planning, each of which are also on the DAG; embracing the design-plan-operate approach. The DAG has an annually rotating Chair, drawn from the DAG membership (excluding the National Programme’s Clinical Lead, Programme Manager, HSE Operations and HSE Strategy and Planning representative members).

The DAG advises the programme in its strategic approach to:

  • Overseeing – being in charge of activities to ensure that they happen.
  • Consultation – responding to requests for inputs from other NCPs or disability stakeholders and requesting inputs from other NCPs or disability stakeholders.
  • Commissioning – in collaboration with Disability Strategy & Planning commissioning resources to support programme provision and innovation.
  • Supporting – providing assistance to others undertaking activities and who are in charge of them.
  • Monitoring – noting the activities of others to ensure that such activities are taking place at a time and in a way that is appropriate to service priorities.
  • Information Exchange – informing others about NCPPD activities and being informed by others of their activities.  
  • Systems Strengthening – contributing to HSE or DoH activities that are not necessarily directly related to disability but which contribute to strengthening the health and social care system, from which people with disability may ultimately benefit.
  • Promoting - the implementation of the UNCRPD across cognate clinical programmes.
  • Resourcing – ensuring the NCPPD has appropriate financial and personnel resources to fulfil its purpose.

These functions are not intended to be comprehensive or exclusive but help the programme reflect on how its activities are focused on different ways of working. The prioritisation of the NCPPD’s work programme will be developed and overseen by the DAG. The NCPPD will work closely with the Disability Specialists - members the Disability Operations and Disability Strategy and Planning Teams - and with cognate clinical programmes, such as mental health, rehabilitation, older persons, neurology, stroke and paediatrics.

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