In 2001 the Government published a new strategy document entitled Primary Care - A New Direction, in which those services delivered to the public at a local level, known as ‘primary care’, were to be re-organised to make them more efficient and accessible. It was envisaged that primary care services could meet up to 95% of health needs in a community.
In each county in Ireland, a number of Primary Care Teams (PCTs) were to be set up, basically linked to GP practices, and including a range of health professionals. There were initially 10 pilot Primary Care Teams set up, one of them being in Lifford/Castlefin, County Donegal.
The Primary Care Team meets regularly in two settings: clinical meetings and ‘business’ meetings. The business meetings are intended to share information and to facilitate joint work between the various health professionals and the wider community. Clinical meetings focus on specific cases and are intended to co-ordinate the actions of the health professionals involved in each case.
A new HSE website providing information on individual Primary Care Teams is being developed. A link from here will be provided when it is in place.
National guidelines for primary care teams business meetings came into operation in January 2013 and will be put on this website in due course. However, the current Donegal Guidelines for Primary Care Team business meetings suggest that the following primary care services are represented at Business Meetings:
a) Public Health Nursing
b) Occupational Therapy
d) Community Mental Health Nursing
e) General Practitioner f) Practice Nursing
f) DieteticsSocial Worker (Adult/Generic)
g) Social Worker (Adult/Generic)
h) Speech & Language Therapy
i) Community Representatives should be present at all PCT Business Meetings
Note: not all of these exist in every Primary Care Team area.
There are also a range of health professionals who may work with two or more Primary Care Teams, for example Dietetics, and they may attend Primary Care Team meetings occasionally.
These Guidelines (in Donegal) also recommend the following for the frequency and length of Business Meetings:
PC Team Business Meetings should be held on a monthly basis for the first 6-12 months until the following are established:
Following this, it is recommended that PC Team Meetings be held on a quarterly basis as a minimum standard. It is recommended that a two hour time slot is allowed for each meeting.
Meetings should not take place during lunch in order to emphasis the value, importance and work related nature of these meetings.