7.1.2 | Healthy Communities
In line with the NPF National Policy Objectives 26 and 27 the RSES will support the objectives of public health policy including Healthy Ireland and the National Physical Activity Plan, through integrating such policies, where appropriate and at the applicable scale, with planning policy. It seeks to ensure the integration of safe and convenient alternatives to the car into the design of our communities, by prioritising walking and cycling accessibility to both existing and proposed developments and integrating physical activity facilities for all ages.
Physical design of settlements has profound effects on the way we live, affecting our mobility and levels of physical activity. The true costs of poor design, in terms of negative health outcomes, cannot be underestimated, necessitating a deep appraisal of howwe plan for our built environment. Placemaking and integrating safe and convenient alternatives to the private car into the design of our settlements is pivotal to progressing to more walking and cycling friendly communities. This requires future proofing, to ensure citizens in existing settlements are equally considered, by instituting programmes of retrofit to achieve the same level of access in existing residential areas. In the face of lifestyle induced illnesses and an ageing population there is an increased urgency in the provision of primary healthcare centres and homecare. Educative and primary healthcare intervention focused approaches, allow gains, both in terms of lifestyle adjustments and tertiary care avoidance, leading to a more cost-efficient and an ultimately less burdened healthcare system. The RSES supports the implementation of Healthy Ireland in its primary goal to improve health and well- being for people across all stages of life. It also supports the focus on reducing health inequalities through co- ordinated action on Key Risk Factors 20 and how different socio-economic groups are impacted, particularly in areas with high levels of deprivation. Local authorities should seek to ensure LECPs are aligned with Healthy Ireland and in relevant action areas to address legacies of deprivation across the Region.
Childcare, Education, and Health Services
It is an objective to improve access to quality childcare, education, and health services through initiatives and projects under the National Development Plan , alignment with Healthy Ireland and support development of outreach and community services for an expanding and ageing population.
Our three cities are WHO Healthy Cities and form part of the Healthy Cities and Counties Network.
Sláintecare (2017) callsfortheprovisionofequitableaccess to a universal single-tier system. Gaps in the national healthcare infrastructure, in particular the demand and capacity for 24 hour Accident and Emergency service provision, primary care, acute care, maternity care, mental healthcare and social care services and outreach services to rural areas, need to be addressed to meet this objective. The NDP details a range of healthcare service redesign and infrastructure investment. The RSES supports this investment programme, the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy and Action Plan. Infrastructure and facilities that support the transition of patients to the most appropriate care settings ranging from acute care to primary and community services, are not solely financially prudent but more citizen- centred. The health dividend from a strong and effective primary healthcare system, complemented by education programmes, speaks to the wellbeing of the Region.
Universal Health Services It is an objective to seek the delivery of better universal health services includingmental health, at all levels of service delivery, including provision of 24 Hour Accident and Emergency Services and implementation of Sláintecare for an expanding and ageing population across the Region.
20. As identified in the Healthy Ireland Implementation Plan 2018 – 2022 – Section 2.
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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