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Author: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Published on 16 January 2012 02:30 PM

Speaking during a Take Note Motion on “Transforming Your Care”, the Review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, Mr Poots said: “The challenge now is to ensure that we take forward the implementation of the Review for the health and well-being of the people of Northern Ireland.

"This is the responsibility of all of us in this Assembly and the Executive and not just me as Minister. All of our constituents look to each and every one of us to deliver better citizen facing services and that includes safe and effective Health and Social Care services for all citizens of Northern Ireland."

Earlier Mr Poots outlined to the Assembly his vision for the future of health services in Northern Ireland as one “which delivers high quality care for clients and patients, ensures the right clinical and social care outcomes, and ensures patients and clients of services have the best possible experience in every aspect of their care”.

He told MLAs: “My priorities are to:

  • improve and protect health and well-being and reduce inequalities through a focus on prevention and earlier intervention;
  • improve the quality of services and outcomes for patients, clients and carers, with an emphasis on safety, effectiveness and involving service users as described in our quality strategy “Quality 2020”;
  • be responsive to the modern world by developing more innovative, accessible and responsive services; by promoting choice and by making more services available in the community;
  • involve individuals, communities and the independent sector in the design, delivery and evaluation of health and social care services through strengthened local commissioning;
  • improve productivity by ensuring effective and efficient allocation and utilisation of all available resources, in line with priorities;
  • and ensure the most vulnerable in our society including children are looked after across all our services.”

The Minister went on to say that the case for change was compelling. He said: “We face a raft of significant and growing pressures: the demographic make-up of our population is changing with a growing and ageing population; overall health is poorer and with growth in chronic conditions; there is increased demand and over reliance on hospital beds; there are advances in medicines and technology; and rising public expectations.

“Northern Ireland has a population of 1.8 million people; it has the fastest growing population in the UK and it is continuing to grow. It is estimated the number of people over 75 years will increase by 40% by 2020. The population of over 85 year olds will increase by almost 20% by 2014 and by 58% by 2020 over the 2009 figure.”

“If we fail to respond to these pressures, the consequences are equally stark. We will have haphazard and unplanned change resulting in poorer care and treatment with poorer health outcomes. Without a planned and coherent approach, we will not be able to meet future health needs and we will fail our Health and Social Care workforce.”

During his speech to the Assembly, the Health Minister summarised the key elements of the proposals in Transforming Your Care and the changes that will emerge from it which will include:

  • more care delivered in the home;
  • changing care packages for people in nursing homes;
  • increased role of the GP;
  • increased role of pharmacy in medicines management and prevention;
  • increased use of community and social care services to meet people’s needs; and
  • outreach of acute services into the community.

And the Minister said the Assembly had a collective duty to work to provide Northern Ireland with the best services. He said: “I appreciate each of us will probably have considered the report from our individual constituency perspective. Whilst this is valuable and important we should not let it unnecessarily impede us to delivering for all citizens in Northern Ireland.”

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