First step towards reconfiguration and transformation announced - Minister O'Neill
Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced a consultation on the proposed criteria to be used to reconfigure, change and improve our health service.
It is proposed that the seven criteria being consulted on will be used to assess if health services need to be changed and are sustainable. The consultation will run longer than the normal eight weeks to take account of the Christmas period and will include a series of consultation meetings right across the north to allow as many as possible to contribute.
In the Minster’s vision for the future of health and social care, ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’, she gave a commitment to embark on a consultation on the criteria for assessing sustainability of health and social care services contained in the Expert Panel report.
Speaking about the consultation, Minister O’Neill said:
“We are embarking on a time of major change in Health and Social Care (HSC) in the north and I want to ensure any change is carefully thought through and planned with the input of as many stakeholders as possible.
“The criteria, if adopted, will be at the heart of informing future decisions to be taken about changing health services where their future delivery needs to be improved or where continuation in their present form is unsustainable.
“Where services are unsustainable we may need to change how we manage the service, deliver better services in fewer sites, improve patient pathways or use innovative technologies to achieve better outcomes for patients across the north. All future changes will be designed with the involvement of those who use and those who provide services, and further consultation will be undertaken on specific service changes.”
The Minister continued:
“At the heart of this is the core aim of ensuring patients receive the best care available the first time every time, even if that means travelling further for treatment resulting in better health outcomes for the patient, with quicker recovery times and less need for follow up care. It’s so important to get the criteria right at the very beginning of the process, so that we have a clear and transparent framework for assessing how we configure services in the future.
“I encourage you to have your say. Your views are of great importance and they will be given full consideration in reaching my decision on whether to adopt the criteria which will reconfigure services in the future.”