The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD with 82 year old Sally Clarke from Wilton and her daughter Ingrid as the minister visited the Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Integrated Care Hub for older people based at St Finbarr’s Health Campus in Cork City, part of the national Enhanced Community Care programme. Photos: Brian Lougheed

Health minister visits Cork

The Minister for Health was in Cork recently visiting a care hub which helps 2,500 older people per year to avoid hospital and stay at home for longer.

The Integrated Care Hub for older people in St Finbarr’s Health Campus is part of the national Enhanced Community Care (ECC) programme which aims to reduce pressure on services and dependence on the hospital-centric model of care.

An underlying theme of the programme is to develop a new, integrated model of care, which is responsive to the needs of local communities.

Meeting staff and patients at the care hub last Friday, Minister Stephen Donnelly TD said: “ECC is a huge investment in community healthcare services in the HSE, aiming to provide more services closer to people’s homes, and provide extra services for older people, or people who live with long-term health conditions.”

The Fianna Fáil TD added that 79 Community Healthcare Networks and 27 Community Specialist Teams of the ECC Programme have already been established nationally, with more than 2,000 staff already recruited or at an advanced stage of employment, with a further 1,700 planned during 2022.

Also speaking during the visit was Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Michael Fitzgerald, who said the hub and others like it in Cork allow for the provision of high quality care to older people as close as possible to home.

He said: “I want to thank the staff who have worked to get this team up and running, and who are already making a difference to the lives of thousands of older people in Cork.

“The entire programme depends on collaboration between many parts of the health service, and the co-operation between HSE staff, GPs and others is clearly paying dividends here.”