Community Healthcare Organisations in Ireland
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has established nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) across the country as a new means of delivering health services.
The new arrangement aims to make it easier for people to access local services, improve management and accountability, and allow stronger local decision-making.
What is a CHO?
CHOs are community healthcare services outside of acute hospitals, such as primary care, social care, mental health, and other health and well-being services. These services are delivered through the HSE and its funded agencies to people in local communities, as close as possible to their homes.
In each CHO, a Chief Officer will lead a local management team which focuses on all of the specialist services in their area.
The establishment of CHOs comes as part of a significant reform programme in line with Government’s “Future Health” policy.
Where are the new CHOs?
Nine CHO areas have been established across the country.
Area 1 represents Donegal Local Health Office (LHO); Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan LHO; and Cavan/Monaghan LHO. This area has a population of 389,048.
Area 2 represents Galway LHO, Roscommon LHO and Mayo LHO. This area has a population of 445,356.
Area 3 represents Clare LHO, Limerick LHO and North Tipperary/East Limerick LHO. This area has a population of 379, 327.
Area 4 represents Kerry LHO, North Cork LHO, North Lee LHO, South Lee LHO and West Cork LHO. This area has a population of 664,533.
Area 5 represents South Tipperary LHO, Carlow/Kilkenny LHO, Waterford LHO and Wexford LHO. This area has a population of 497,578.
Area 6 represents Wicklow LHO, Dún Laoghaire LHO and Dublin South East LHO. This area has a population of 364,464.
Area 7 represents Kildare/West Wicklow LHO, Dublin West LHO, Dublin South City LHO and Dublin South West LHO. This area has a population of 674,071.
Area 8 represents Laois/Offaly LHO, Longford/Westmeath LHO, Louth LHO and Meath LHO. This area has a population of 592,388.
Area 9 represents Dublin North LHO, Dublin North Central LHO and Dublin North West LHO. This area has a population of 581,486.
Where will I find them?
The image below outlines where your local CHO office is located and who your CHO Chief Officer is.
How will they work?
CHOs will support integrated care within community healthcare services and between community and acute hospital services. They will also strengthen integration with public service organisations, such as local authorities, An Garda Síochána, education bodies, voluntary organisations and many more.
CHOs will deliver primary care services, such as General Practitioner (GP) services, public health nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and more. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) will coordinate the local delivery of services; 90 PCNs, each supporting an average population of 50,000 people, will be developed across the country, with approximately ten in each CHO.
People with complex care needs will be designated a key worker from within their PCN, who will ensure that they experience integrated care as they move across services in their communities.
Social care services within CHOs will encompass those for older people and people with disabilities. For people with disabilities, these include specialist day, training, home support, respite and residential services.
Reforms include the programme to close congregated settings, improvement of specialist therapy services to children with disabilities, changes to adult day services and to how respite services are provided.
The Head of Social Care will hold responsibility for service provision for people with disabilities, and will lead the management of the implementation of the reforms at CHO level.
Under the CHO programme, local consultative arrangements will be put in place to improve how people with disabilities, parents and family members are involved in the planning and delivery of services.
Mental health services provided in CHOs, such as specialised secondary care services, will include those delivered in the service user’s own home, day hospitals, hostels, and acute units located within general hospitals.
Health and well-being services will focus on keeping people healthy and well, and promote good health on equal terms for everyone in the country.
For more information, click here to visit the HSE’s report on CHOs.
Alternatively, click the following link to read the HSE’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on CHOs: FAQs on Community Healthcare Organisations