The Adelaide Health Policy Department was established in 2009 in conjunction with the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin.
Policy Department has been instrumental in advocating for a fair and equitable health system through the development of a universal single-tier health service, which guarantees access to medical care based on need, not income. We are recognised as developing evidence-based policies that will help to implement progressive change within the Irish healthcare system. The AHF has made a policy decision to develop the Adelaide Health Policy Department as part of its strategic plan.
Our vision is to be a leading independent not-for-profit health foundation, which seeks to advance healthcare in Ireland by providing research and health policy analysis. The symbiotic mechanisms that we achieve with this vision are outlined in Figure 1.
- To generate and promote the use of research evidence to inform health policy, management and services.
- To evaluate key health policies which impact on the health and well being of the Irish population
- To advocate for access to good quality healthcare based upon need and not ability to pay.
Adelaide Health Policy Initiative
The Adelaide Health Policy Department functions and operates within the structure of the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, TCD and also under the control of the Board of Governors of the AHF.
Health Policy Steering Committee
The Health Policy Steering Committee meets approximately every two months. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to oversee the processes and the implementation of the research and policy plans.
Department of Public Health & Primary Care and Trinity Health Ireland
The Adelaide Health Policy Department is integrated within the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin. The Department’s overall research focus is on issues of public health concern such as chronic disease, lifestyle problems, population health, advocacy and health services research. In July 2011, a collaborative agreement in relationship to the establishment of Trinity Health Ireland (THI) was signed by the three participating institutions, Tallaght University Hospital, St. James's Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. This allows for the incorporation of operational activities between the School of Medicine and its major teaching hospitals, in a manner designed to maximise the capacity for delivering high quality clinical care, providing excellence in medical education and training and delivering high quality biomedical research and contributing to the economic and social development in an integrated way. THI's vision is to measurably improve the quality of life of patients by delivering a world-class healthcare system, which seamlessly integrates community; primary and social care with specialist hospital care and rapidly delivers the benefits of new research and therapies to the healthcare system.
Themes and Topics
Our policy and research plan takes a population based approach to improving health outcomes by applying a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodologies across a range of difference themes and topics, such as;
- reform of the financing and resource allocation in the Irish health system
- improvements in integrated care between community, primary and secondary care
- promotion of better chronic disease management
- tackling the determinants of health and health inequalities
- mental health
- public and patient involvement in care
- evaluation of health services and interventions
We recognize that health policy must be underpinned by good quality evidence based research. All research findings have a publication strategy, which includes international peer-review submission and policy direction.
Conferences and Roundtables
The Adelaide Health Policy Department, in conjunction with the Jesuits Centre for Faith and Justice has hosted a major public conference and two successful Roundtable meetings. The public conference in the Croke Park Conference Centre attracted over 160 participants and was addressed by the Minister for Health and the Minister of State for Primary Care. The Conference was most successful in engaging a wide range of stakeholders and interested organisations in the reform process now underway.
A number of Roundtable meetings have occurred to date with invited attendees from health policy, academia, clinicians, charities and NGO’s. Topics have included the merits of the Governments policy choices for healthcare reform and an assessment of the progress relating to the implementation of reform, the perceived readiness of primary care to deliver effective chronic disease management and the evidence relating to financing reform model options that underpin universal health insurance. This forum has proved to be very effective for concretising collaborative relationships and has received very positive feedback from those who attended.
Building Partnerships and Alliances
The success of the work of the AHPI requires effort and willingness to work with other persons and institutions in order to help effect change. Hence we work with TASC, ESRI, Institute of Public Health in Ireland, the Jesuit Centre for Faith & Justice, Social Justice Ireland, The Wheel, Amnesty Ireland, and, the Centre for Health Policy & Management, TCD.
The AHPI recognises that it needs partners in a range of countries to make an impact on health policy at European level. The annual European Health Forum Gerstein is the leading health policy event in Europe and representation of the AHPI at the annual meeting would provide a major platform for the AHPI to exchange information about a broad spectrum of contemporary health issues. The AHPI will also consider aligning itself with other NGO’s in the form of joining the European Public Health Alliance which is committed to bringing together partners to address health, well-being and inequalities at European level.
Measuring the Output and Impact of the AHPI
There is symbiotic relationship to output and impact of any organisation trying to influence change, however there are differences in these two areas. Outputs of the AHPI can include published papers, conference contributions, books, and teaching materials. Impact can be measured in healthcare such as improvements in patient or public health outcomes, raised public awareness of a health risk or a health policy issue. The AHPI can also impact on the wider societal issues relating to health by impacting on the political environment and facilitating better health policy debate and health planning decisions.
The Next Phase
The next phase of the AHPI is now underway in the three-year work plan approved by the Board of Governors to 2015. The considerable investment made by the Foundation is paying off in terms that will benefit every patient in the future. The Foundation and its members may take pride in the national impact being made by its contribution to health policy research, policy development and advocacy. The future of the AHPI promises to make even more substantial advances in research, policy development and advocacy. The AHPI will need to develop and implement a clear dissemination strategy for its work to raise the profile of the work that we do. Also a strategy to build upon existing capacity will be needed to grow the organisation.
Dr Catherine Darker is the Adelaide Assistant Professor of Health Services Research in the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin. Background and current role Dr Darker is a Health Psychologist by background training and took up the post of Adelaide Lecturer in Health Services Research in 2012. Dr Darker, in conjunction with the Adelaide Health Foundation ...Read more
Lucy Whiston is the Adelaide Research Assistant in the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin. Background and role at the AHPI Ms. Whiston has an undergraduate degree is Sociology and Social Policy and a Masters in Applied Social Research. In 2014 Ms. Whiston took up the role of Adelaide Research Assistant. During this time she has ...Read more