The Community Funded Schemes (CFS) is a collective name for the many products, supports, supplies, appliances and aids that are provided through community primary care services. These schemes are managed by our local Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) and on a daily basis provide services and assistive technologies to hundreds of thousands of people who are living with a wide variety of different medical conditions.
These products and services play an important role in assisting and supporting members of the community to maintain every day functioning, to remain living in their homes, and make a valuable contribution to improving the quality of life of individuals living with a wide variety of medical conditions. They also assist in avoiding the need for a hospital presentation or admission, and in facilitating early discharge from hospital back into the community.
The HSE currently spends in excess of €300m per annum on these products and services. The scale of the programme is significant, encompassing hundreds of thousands of service users, and the full range of healthcare professionals.
Every healthcare professional 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 the provision of the CFS programme.
These healthcare professionals include:
- public health nurses (PHNs)
- continence advisors
- clinical nurse specialists
- occupational therapists
- speech and language therapists
Service Improvement Programme
The HSE established in 2016, under the auspices of Community Primary Care a Service Improvement Programme (SIP) for Community Funded Schemes. This programme has the aim of improving the quality and sustainability of the CFS and ensuring greater equity of access no matter where across the country an individual service user resides. It also aims to put in place national standards and functional processes for the day to day management of these schemes, in order to improve the quality of the services that we are delivering to the community and to achieve greater value for money in the use of valuable public resources.
Six work streams
Six work streams were identified under the Service Improvement Programme and multidisciplinary work groups a National Multidisciplinary Working Group was established for each work stream, chaired by a senior manager within the HSE. The work of these groups is overseen by a CFS Steering Group, which is chaired by the Assistant National Director (AND) for Primary Care, which provides oversight and coordination in driving this vast service improvement project forward.
The six works streams are:
- Aids and appliances
- Respiratory therapy products
- Orthotics, prosthetics and specialised footwear
- Continence wear, urinary, ostomy and bowel care
- Bandages and dressings
Procedures and guidelines
Given the varying complexity of the work and the extent of the challenge it is unsurprising that the speed of progress has varied across the different work streams. However, all are progressing and significant achievements have been made in some areas, in terms of establishing national standard lists of products and services, standard operating procedures, and national contracts for the provision of many products. Guidelines and other documents for use by healthcare professionals have also been developed. This material can be accessed through the links that are on this page.
The work to improve services is ongoing and the expectation is that over the coming two years further milestones will be reached in the pursuit of the programmes aim to improve the quality of the services we provide to the community and continue to assist people with different medical conditions to live within their communities.