Cabinet Approval to Develop New Health Information Legislation
The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received Cabinet approval to develop the General Scheme of a Health Information Legislation.
The proposed Bill will help ensure that Ireland has a fit for purpose national health information system that enhances patient care and treatment and supports better planning and delivery of health services.
Minister Donnelly said, “as the pandemic repeatedly demonstrated, our health professionals are among the best and most committed in the world. They, and the patients they treat, deserve to have the right information in the right place at the right time and we want to empower our frontline health staff to share information for patient care. That is one of the core aims of Sláintecare and why I brought this important proposal to Cabinet.”
“This is a necessary piece of legislation that demonstrates the government’s commitment to building patient-centred, integrated health services. All those who use our health services and those who work in them already know that information must follow the patient. This Bill will provide the required legislation to ensure that happens in a way that builds public confidence in how health service providers handle health information, not only for care and treatment, but for the achievement of other health service goals – ultimately delivering a better health service for those who need it.”
To continue to build public confidence in the handling of health information, the Bill will provide for the appointment of a National Health Information Guardian who will be an independent champion for individuals and the public in how the health system intends to use their health information. Minister Donnelly has also ensured that the proposal includes provisions to strengthen, in particular areas, the rights of individuals in relation to their health information.
The proposal will also support the introduction of a National Health Information Centre with clearly specified functions and governance rules in relation to the collection and processing of health information for population health purposes and research and innovation that leads to better outcomes for patients.
Minister Donnelly concluded, “my department will soon embark on a consultation process with stakeholders to inform the development of the General Scheme.”