1 / Why is the HSE doing this? / The Community Funded Schemes (CFS) are an important component of the Health Services that are provided in the community. In order to ensure the ongoing development and quality of these schemes, the HSE has under the auspices of the Primary Care Directorate, established the National Service Improvement Programme for CFS.
The Programme aims to ensure that all eligible service users have equity of access to essential respiratory therapy equipment and services regardless of geographical location.
Current practices around the HSE may vary in relation to how funding for equipment is authorised (approved) and ordered. We are working on standardising this process throughout the country which willimprove the order and approval process.
A consolidated contract for the supply of equipment, consumables and services will enhance the service user experience by providing one contact point for all information, servicing, replacement or advice in relation to the use of equipment or services. In awarding consolidated contracts clinical staff will also have streamlined access to prescribing equipment.
2 / Is it to save money at the expense of patient’s lives? / No. This is a Service Improvement Programme.
The Programme has the aim of improving the quality and sustainability of the CFS through the establishment of national standards, equity of access, value for money, functional processes and a management system that ensures compliance with those standards and objectives.
The new contract will enhance the service and support provided to service users.
3 / Do I have to change my existing supplier? / This will be determined once the outcome of the tender process is known. However any new service provider will only be awarded the contract if they have demonstrated their capability and willingness to fully meet the requirements of service users.
4 / Do I have to change my existing equipment? / If you are happy with your equipment you may continue to use it, but your back up service for that equipment may change. If your equipment is faulty your new service provider will provide you with equivalent replacement equipment
5 / Why do I have to change my existing supplier? / The HSE is obliged to publicly tender when it is spending taxpayer’s monies. However as stated above any new contractor will only be awarded the contract if they have demonstrated their capability and willingness to fully meet the requirements of service users.
6 / When is this going to happen? / It is envisaged that the new contract would be in place by April 2017 but any changeover dates have not yet been determined. You will be informed well in advance of any changes.
7 / What happens if something goes wrong? / Under the terms of the new contract, the service provider will provide a 24/7 support telephone on call service.
In addition, the service provider will operate a service user support centre including a Freephone number to deal with queries Mon – Fri from 9am – 5pm.
8 / How can I contact a supplier who is at the other side of the country? / Each service provider who wins the contract will have to provide support staff in the areas they are contracted to cover.
Their telephone support staff may be based in a central location but they will be obliged to have staff available to visit you should issues arise with your equipment.
9 / What is wrong with my current supplier? / The HSE is not aware of any issues with the current suppliers of Respiratory Therapy Products, however, the HSE is obliged to publicly tender when it is spending taxpayer’s monies.
10 / Will there be strangers coming into my home? / All staff from the service providers will be Garda Vetted and required to produce/carry company identification. In order to install the equipment in a safe manner they will require access to your home. You are within your rights to refuse access but the equipment cannot then be installed.
11 / Are these people Garda vetted? / All companies awarded contracts by the HSE will be Garda vetted and have the necessarystandard of training that qualifies them to provide a high quality safe service.
12 / Will the HSE pay for the electricity cost for using this equipment? (There won’t be additional electricity costs in respect of this contract) / Any electricity costs incurred in the running of equipment is usually paid for by the person using the equipment. In some cases a Community Welfare Officer may be in a position to provide relief where hardship is demonstrated.
13 / What will happen if I am on holiday/few days away in another part of Ireland and my equipment breaks down (in the context that when this has happened in the past pt went down to CCA/LHO where on holidays) / The tender provides that all support services must be available to patients when on holiday in the Republic of Ireland.
14 / What will happen if I am on holiday/few days away in another Country and my equipment breaks down / The provision of respiratory therapy products/services while travelling abroad is currently under consideration by the National Group.
15 / Currently my local health centre services my equipment annually/when filter is discoloured. How will this work in the future? / The successful suppliers will be obligated to provide patients with appropriate consumables for their equipment. These will either be posted or delivered to your home.
16 / Will this be a better service? / This is a Service Improvement Programme with the aim of enduring the ongoing developing and quality of the provision of Respiratory Therapy Products and Services.
The Benefits to Service Users include:
  • National Standards
  • Equity of Access
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Improved approval and ordering process
  • Improved facilitation of hospital avoidance
  • Enhanced capacity for timely hospital discharge
  • Service User Support Centre in operation
  • Freephone number to deal with queries
  • Support for patients at all times including holidays.

17 / How will the HSE ensure my equipment is safe to use? /
  • All Respiratory Therapy equipment supplied must meet the technical and quality and safety specifications set out by HSE.
  • The equipment must be serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s specification.
  • Equipment supplied will be repaired or replacedwithin 8 hours from time of notification.
  • Company will have documented business continuity plans in place for events such as adverse weather, flu pandemic, manufacturer/ product supply issues.

18 / How were Geographical areas decided? / •3 Geographical area’s.
•Similar population in each area.
•Rural/Urban mix in each area.
•From a servicing perspective it is more streamlined to have a North/Mid/South split.
19 / How will geographical discrepancies be handled? / The tender process will provide for equity across the HSE, regardless of where the service userlives.
20 / How will complaints be dealt with? / Each supplier will have their own complaints procedure and are obligated to report their complaints to the HSE.
Service users can also utilise the HSE “Your Service Your Say” complaints procedure.
21 / What is the tender process? / The national contract will be divided into the following lots:
  • Lot A– Ventilators (NIV & IV); Airway Clearance; Nebulisers, and associated Consumables & Monitoring Equipment
  • Lot B– Oxygen Products & Services; Oxygen Concentrators & associated
Providers should note that a separate tender process will be conducted for Sleep Management Products/Services in due course.
Providers should note that NIV will be included with boththis tender and with the tender for Sleep Management Products/Service (which is to follow later). Clients who require NIV due to a sleep related condition will get their products/service from the ‘sleep’ contractor. Clients who do not have a sleep related condition, but who require NIV will get their products/service from the contract the subject of this tender.
22 / How long is the contract being awarded for? / The contract is awarded for a3 year duration, with a possibility of a 2 year extension.
23 / If there are 9 companies supplying now, how many companies can win the contract? / This can only be determined following the outcome of the tender processes. The HSE has structured the tender to ensure that no one supplier can win all of the lots / areas included in the contract.
24 / How will legacy patients be facilitated? / If a patient has to change supplier and/or equipment, the HSE will ensure that the service and equipment provided will be to the highest manufacturer standard. . It is anticipated that existing HSE patients will be transferred to the new contract(s), by Geographical Area, over an appropriate period with the objective of minimising the impact on patients and services.

National Respiratory Therapy Reform Programme: FAQ’s