The Community Funded Schemes is a collective name for all of the many products, supports, supplies, appliances and aids that are provided through community services. There are a variety of products and services provided under the schemes.
These products and services play a key role in assisting and supporting service users to maintain every day functioning, to remain living in their homes and local community. They also avoid the need for a hospital presentation or admission whilst also facilitating early discharge from hospital back into the community.
The HSE currently spends in excess of €250m per annum on these products and services. The scale of the programme is enormous given that many thousands of items are provided from community based services across the country. Every PHN, continence advisor, clinical nurse specialist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, dietician, speech and language therapist, podiatrist and orthotist, who prescribes an appliance, a sip feed, a prosthetic, oxygen or one of the many thousands of items used to support service users in the community has a role to play in this service improvement programme.
Currently, many of these products and services are not provided on a standardised basis across the country and many do not yet have formal contracts in place governing their supply or price. This has resulted in an inequality of access to products and services for service users in some areas and does not allow the HSE to deliver best value for money in the provision of these products and service. To address these issues and to improve the quality and sustainability of the products and services being provided in the community, a Service Improvement Programme was established to set out national standards and guidelines, to ensure that there is equitable access to services irrespective of where the service users resides.
Six work streams have been identified under the Service Improvement Programme and a National Multidisciplinary Working Group has been established for each work stream, chaired by a senior manager within the HSE. In order to oversee the coordination between these separate working groups a CFS Governance Group chaired by Brian Murphy, Head of Planning, Performance and Programme Management, Primary Care Division is established to drive this vast project forward.