Press release

Health leaders make crisis call for political consensus

Health leaders in Northern Ireland call for urgent political consensus on healthcare transformation following the general election

4 July 2024

On the eve of a new UK government, the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON), which represents the leaders of Health and Social Care (HSC) organisations in NI, is calling for collective political support at Stormont and in Westminster to bring about the changes critically needed to rescue our beleaguered health and social care system. 

Political consensus was reached previously with the Bengoa Expert Panel, leading to the publication of ‘Systems, Not Structures - Changing Health and Social Care’ in 2016 The requirement for political cohesiveness is now critical.

The HSC system is under greater pressure than ever before as it grapples with rising demand, longer waiting lists, and significant workforce pressures. Despite the welcome funding uplift from the June monitoring round, the current budgetary position will delay system progress. If there is prolonged political wrangling, this will result in further harm.

Our members have two key asks:

  • Firstly, we ask for a creative approach to finding bridging funding to enable the delivery of three-year recovery plans, supporting a more strategic approach. Westminster should provide funding in line with need.
  • Secondly, now the election is over, we call for political leaders to reach agreement to collectively drive forward the much needed suite of transformation initiatives at pace, including service reconfiguration.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, the parent body of NICON, supports these asks. He said: “Political leadership at every level is key at this time - as is visionary leadership from senior leaders and partners. There is clear consensus on the way forward.  After years of talking and stop start government, there must now be a serious focus on taking action.” 

Professor Mark Taylor, a transformation expert who has been working across the NICON membership for the last three months, explained: “We have a collective responsibility as leaders to highlight these concerns and potential solutions on behalf of our highly trained and dedicated workforce. 

“We stand ready to engage with politicians and the public in the coming weeks as we work together to do all in our power to support the health and wellbeing of people in Northern Ireland. We can do better, so we should - anything else is unconscionable”. 

Professor Mark Taylor, NICON Spokesperson, and Matthew Taylor, NHS Confederation Chief Executive are available for interview. 

Please direct any media enquiries to Robyn Scott, NICON Policy & Communications Manager, on 074 8530 3672 or via email.

Notes to editors:

  • The Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON) is the voice of the organisations working across Northern Ireland’s integrated Health and Social Care system (HSC). It is part of the wider NHS Confederation.
  • To learn more, visit the NICON hub
  • NICON priorities for the future of health and social care are set out in ‘Back on Track: securing the health and wellbeing of our population’. 

About us

We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.