Irish Medical Organisation

DoH Consultation on "Your Health is Your Wealth" Public Health Policy Framework – June 2012

The IMO made a number of Submissions on "Your Health is Your Wealth" Public Health Policy Framework reflecting the recommendations of the IMO's Position Paper on Health Inequalities. Recommendations included: 

  •  An explicit statement from Government that health is a basic human right and its protection should be a core aim of Government and the State;
  • An explicit statement that the State recognises the crucial importance of prevention and that preventing ill-health through the reduction of health and social inequalities would be a stated priority of Government;
  • An immediate review of inequalities and inequities in health to include inequalities in health status, and inequities in access to health care by socio-economic grouping, geographic location, gender and ethnic minority;
  • The establishment of an inter-sectoral committee to prioritise the development and implementation of evidence-based initiatives across departments and across sectors that tackle the unequal distribution of wealth and ensure that all children have the opportunity to realise their maximum potential including;
  • Economic policies that focus on growth and provide as large a proportion of the population as possible with rewarding, productive and secure employment;
  • Fiscal policies that are progressive;
  • Social welfare policies that ensure a minimum standard of living for all;
  • Family policies to eliminate child poverty
  • Education policies that focus on early childhood including:
    • formal statutory preschool access for all children;
    • active collaboration between the Department of Education and the Department of Health to deliver on early educational intervention.
  • The establishment of a Minister of Public Health with direct responsibility for overseeing the delivery and implementation of Public Health Policy and to ensure that public policy is health proofed across all Government Departments.
  • The Minister for Public Health should have a statutory function in each of the Government Departments involved and funding within each Department should be ring-fenced for Public Health initiatives;
  • The Office of the Minister for Public Health should also be responsible for ensuring that Health Impact Assessments are carried out on all new government policies at design, implementation and review stages.
  • A national Public Health Executive Agency should be established to ensure that the core functions of public health (Health Protection, Health Intelligence and Public Health), drive progress and are accountable for implementing policies set by the Public Health Minister;
  • The contribution, to the overall economic strength and well-being of Ireland, of Public Health interventions and measures should be recognised through priority funding. Secured funding for Public Health is of vital importance, particularly in view of the Government’s plans to introduce universal health insurance – a funding mechanism which traditionally caters poorly for Public Health requirements.
  • • Development of an integrated Public and Community Health workforce plan.

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