HSE launches Primary Care Island Services Review

Tuesday 27th November 2018 

HSE launched the ‘Primary Care Island Services Review Report in the Maldron Hotel, Oranmore Co. Galway. 

This review was commissioned by the HSE’s Primary Care Division with a view to developing a sustainable, cost effective quality and fair primary care service that meets the everyday needs of the Irish island populations. This review focuses on the provision of health services to the nearly 3,000 people living on 18 islands off the coast of Ireland, that are not connected by a land causeway with the mainland. 

Welcoming the report, Minister Harris said "I recognise the need to enhance and expand Primary Care services to support our island communities. Indeed, such an approach is in line with the overall direction set out in the Sláintecare report of developing community-based services to bring care closer to home.  I welcome the fact that we have listened both to the communities and to frontline healthcare workers who provide services on the islands. I now look forward to the successful implementation of this plan which will help us to protect the heritage of the Irish islands by ensuring the needs of current and future generations of islanders are met”.

The review report was officially launched by Chair of the Regional Health Forum, Councillor and Mayor of Sligo Rosaleen O’Grady who stated “This review describes the vision for the provision of a high quality and equitable health service for the island populations, and will serve as a framework to lead change and support the islanders in their choice to remain living on the islands.  The review confirms that availability of service varies from island to island. It also shows these services are often at the mercy of poor weather conditions and limited access to transport.  For the island populations we need to empower people to engage in health-promoting and self-caring activities.  This combined with a well-resourced primary care team will provide a fair and accessible healthcare service for the island populations.” 

Speaking at the launch Mr Simon Murray Chair of Comhdháil na hÉireann stated “The consultation process heard from island communities and from healthcare workers who live and provide services on islands. The overwhelming feedback to the report was that action is now needed. Island communities fear the loss of existing healthcare services and have expressed concern at the lack of contingency and forward planning to increase the delivery of healthcare services tailored to meet the needs of the islands. We believe that the implementation of our recommendations will benefit both islanders and the healthcare workers delivering those services on the islands into the future.” 

Speaking at the launch Steering Group Chair and Chief Officer of Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Area 1, John Hayes said “This review contains eleven major findings many of which acknowledge the unique challenges in providing equitable, cost effective and high quality primary care services to islands.  In order to deliver a specific plan to meet the needs of the population of each island, this review sets out 71 recommendations designed to provide a fair, high quality and sustainable primary care services to island communities.  Our review also includes an implementation plan for Year 1. This plan provides a roadmap for where further discussions and collaboration are needed .It recognises that a “one size fits all” approach will not work and more innovative and flexible methods of providing healthcare will need to be considered, which should be built upon a strong infrastructure.” 

He added “I want to thank the members of the steering group for their work in producing this document and in particular I wish to thank the author of this report Dr Louise Doherty, Specialist in Public Health Medicine”.


Notes to Editor

The report can be downloaded below.

Media Queries to: 
Amanda Murray 
HSE Communications Officer 
Community Health Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo) 
Tel: 071 98 34641 Mob: 087 9050777   
Email: amandam.murray@hse.ie 

Last updated on: 27 / 11 / 2018