Reflecting on the past year or so and the future for Health and Social Care Professions

When I initially drafted this blog it was just coming up to a month on from our successful launch of HSCP Deliver – A Strategic Guidance Framework for Health and Social Care Professions 2021 – 2026, and I was focussing on moving forward with implementation.

We were delighted to have been joined by 635 people at the launch webinar where attendees had the opportunity to hear perspectives from Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, Anne Lawlor, Co-Founder of 22q Ireland and HSE Patient Forum member, Anita Murray, Clinical Specialist Podiatrist, Paul Nolan, Chief Cardiac Physiologist and Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer.

A Framework for Achieving Our Collective Potential

HSCP Deliver is a pivotal development for HSCP, as the first co-created, overarching, strategic framework for our professions in this country.  The strength of HSCP Deliver lies in its co-creation, informed by more than 16,300 contributions from HSCP, service users and stakeholders.  It is fully aligned with national policy and informed by international best practice.  While COVID-19 necessarily delayed finalisation and publication, I had thought that the timing, launching late spring, was ideal as things were improving leaving space to consider next steps. However, the impact of the cyber-attack has inevitably altered plans. 

The launch of HSCP Deliver came at a time where the health service had been through unprecedented, rapid changes, developments and transformation.  The huge flexibility and adaptability demonstrated by HSCP and all staff and the pace of change during the pandemic was incredible, widely acknowledged and something about which everyone can be justifiably proud.

The changes and transformations that have occurred in the last year or more, coupled with the substantial investment and staff increases coming through with the Winter Plan and then National Service Plan bring very significant opportunities for HSCP.  With HSCP Deliver, we now have the framework within which to situate and grow this work.

There are of course, as always, challenges.  None of us were expecting the cyber-attack or the scale of devastation it brought to our health services.  Once again, everyone has risen to the challenge but I am very aware of the high cost personally for so many in terms of the stress, drain on resources and fatigue people are experiencing.  The need for time to rest and recharge was already evident as we emerged from the pandemic and has increased by a huge order of magnitude as a result of the work required to continue to provide services in the wake of the attack.

However, with the Trojan work of so many, things are turning around and we will get back to having capacity to look forward and space for that characteristic HSCP innovation, problem solving and drive for excellence and quality to flourish.

In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to reflect on some of the highlights of what HSCP have achieved at national level as we continue to build and progress further.  The situation of the National HSCP Office within the Chief Clinical Officer function has been an important step in enabling further HSCP development and influence at national level.

  • We have a first overarching strategic framework for HSCP supported by senior HSE management.
  • HSCP are included in key high level national steering groups and fora.
  • There is enhanced and developing HSCP input to clinical design through the National Clinical Programmes.
  • Six new funded HSCP representative roles were created over the past 12 months.
  • Work is underway to progress HSCP senior clinical decision making and advanced practice with high-level sponsorship working with the Department of Health.
  • There is a significant uplift in HSCP posts.
  • A comprehensive report on practice placement has been completed.
  • Recognition of the significant HSCP innovation and adoption of telehealth and ehealth solutions including publication of the HSCP Telehealth Toolkit and Examples of HSCP Telehealth.
  • HSCP Leadership in Practice in COVID webinar series.
  • A rejuvenated HSCP Research Group and recent Research Speed Networking Event.
  • The HSCP hub on www.hseland.ie has been redesigned and the new upgraded version is under construction.  In the meantime, key information is hosted on the Discovery Zone and will be available once access is restored following the cyber-attack.

These are just a few examples of the strides being taken and the developments and opportunities for HSCP.

A suite of supports to support implementation of HSCP Deliver is planned.  These include webinars and virtual workshops together with tools to support implementation.

After the summer, once you have had the chance to take a very well deserved break and have some rest, I urge you to engage and to consider how you might implement aspects of HSCP Deliver in your own setting or service.  Please do keep in touch with us and share your work with us too.  I am committed to recording and sharing all of the work that HSCP are doing to progress HSCP Deliver.  It is so important to share learning and to highlight, showcase and recognise all of the developments, of all sizes and sorts and the strides we are taking collectively as HSCP.

This Blog was written by Jackie Reed, National Lead in the HSE’s National Health and Social Care Professions Office.

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