Community Healthcare Networks

Our healthcare system is facing significant challenges. To help us meet the needs of our service users we must change how we deliver services. We are developing Community Healthcare Networks nationwide to deliver this change.

About Community Healthcare Networks (CHN)

We have a growing and ageing population. Life expectancy is increasing, as is the prevalence of chronic disease. These and other factors continue to place increasing pressure on our health services. How we deliver services needs to change so we can meet the needs of people using our services, and for our staff.

There will be 96 CHNs across Ireland. Each CHN will deliver primary healthcare services across a population of 50,000. It will consist of between 4-6 primary care teams, with GPs involved in delivering services. Working together in multi-disciplinary teams will deliver the Sláintecare vision to provide the right care, in the right place at the right time.

The CHNs are further supported with Community Specialist Teams for Older Persons and Chronic Disease. These aim to improve the lives of older persons and the standard of care for four major chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

CHNs will enable decisions to be made closer to the point of care, and specific to population needs. This will improve integration with health and community support services. For example older people, disabilities, mental health and access to acute hospital services.

Benefits of Community Healthcare Networks

CHNs will improve the experience for people using our services by:

  • supporting people to live more independently in the community
  • coordinating and integrating services to meet our changing health needs
  • supporting collaborative working to provide person-centred care
  • ensuring timely access to services nationwide

Benefits for people who use our services

  • more locally accessible services
  • efficient movement from community to acute services and back
  • more care at home than in hospitals
  • prioritisation of service-based on needs
  • early intervention and prevention

Benefits for staff

  • new leadership roles with GPs and clinicians involved in network management teams
  • opportunity to work with colleagues from other disciplines
  • greater say and involvement in decision making at a local level
  • learning, mentoring, and development of leadership and management skills

Staff who will be working in the Community Healthcare Network  

Primary care professionals will be working in the Community Healthcare Networks.

These include:

  • Community Healthcare Network Manager
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Dieticians
  • Social Workers
  • Administrative staff

Community Nurses will be integral to the success of the Community Healthcare Networks and will continue to work collaboratively with their Primary Care colleagues, as they do today, to ensure standards of care continue to be met.

Other primary care staff such as Psychologists, will interact with the Community Healthcare Networks as required.

Community Healthcare Network Manager

The Community Healthcare Network Manager is responsible for integration of services within the CHN. This includes, for example, home support, social inclusion, community mental health. The Network Manager will have close working relationships with these services.

GPs and the Community Healthcare Networks

A designated GP Lead role represents GPs at a Network level. The GP Lead helps deliver services within the network, and other community voluntary providers.

Communicating with staff

We will communicate with staff in face-to-face meetings, by email updates and online at the ‘Community Network Hub’ on