NI Health Minister to consider report on health and social care reforms

Northern Ireland Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has received the report from the Expert Panel, tasked with considering the reconfiguration of Health and Social Care in the north.

Ms O’Neill said: “I would like to offer my thanks to Professor Bengoa and his colleagues for producing this report. These are important and complex matters and I am therefore going to take some time to consider the financial and organisational implications of the panel’s report.

“Provided I can secure the necessary resources, I plan to use this work as a foundation for my own vision for the long term future of health and social care in the north. I will publish my vision this autumn, alongside the Panel’s report, and aim to begin translating the political and public discussion about reform of health and social care into concrete proposals for transforming these important services.”

Commenting on the report, the Panel’s Chair, Professor Rafael Bengoa stated: “I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say that it has been a privilege to carry out this work and I hope that it will help to provide a sound basis for the reforms that need to happen.

“Our task has been to make recommendations on a future health and social care model which will deliver a financially sustainable service, providing high quality outcomes in the face of changing patterns of demand.  Patients have been at the heart of our interactions with all stakeholders and it is with them in mind that our recommendations propose a sustainable community based health care system for the future. This is one of the major challenges of our time and one that many western economies across the world are confronting by attempting to put reforms such as this into practice.

“In the course of our work we have been able to talk to people from different parts of the health and social care system and we have been struck by the consistency of the messages we have received. There is a strong appetite for reform and there now seems to be a clear window of opportunity to harness this energy and drive transformation forward.”

Picture: Health Minister Michelle O’Neill and Panel’s Chair, Professor Rafael Bengoa