Additional Funding Announced For National Sexual Assault Treatment Unit

A policy review and its recommendations of the National Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) have been published by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

The review contains 10 actions which aim to strengthen the health service provided to victims of sexual assault and will be implemented over the next two years.

The actions include:

• Increasing and ring-fencing the SATU budget by 25%

• Developing robust national oversight of this critical area of health service delivery

• Supporting a more sustainable SATU workforce to ensure excellent care for vulnerable patients

• Expanding the SATU service so that the longer-term emotional and social needs of patients, as well as their immediate medical and forensic needs are looked after.

Publishing the Review, Minister Harris said: "I'm so proud today that following an accelerated Policy Review led by my officials – the first of its kind – we will be taking a major step forward in enhancing the service provided to patients and the supports provided to staff working in this difficult area."

He added: "The Review seeks to ensure a coordinated national health response to sexual assault. I am pleased to announce an additional €0.5 million in funding for the SATU service in 2019 so that this much-needed work can begin immediately."

A dedicated Joint DoH/HSE Review Implementation Team will be established immediately to implement the actions arising from the review. It will report back to Minister Harris on progress within six months.

The Minister concluded: "These aren't easy issues to talk about. And these aren't easy things to change – the levels of cooperation, coordination and collaboration we need alone are significant. But we need to start by deciding that every step we take together in the name of supporting patients better is worthwhile…..now let's make it happen!"

Dr Maeve Eogan, The National Medical Director of SATU said: "Patients are always at the centre of our service and staff's minds and we continually strive to do our best for them. This has not always been an easy task to due staff shortages and increasing demands.

The actions set out in this review will support us better in ensuring we continue to provide a high-quality service to patients as close to home as possible."

She continued: "We don't want anyone to need our service, but if they do, they can be assured that they will have the support of committed, compassionate and expert professionals in their nearest SATU."

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