'Support us to support you' is the key message of health and social care leaders in Northern Ireland in their election briefing launched today (22 April).
In the context of an exhausted workforce, an uncertain financial position, ongoing impact of COVID-19, rising demand and the need to change – yet wide-spread opposition to it – the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care's key ask is for support from all sections of society.
Our members believe that with renewed ambition and bold decision-making, substantive progress is possible – but only if we make health central to our national mission.
International evidence shows that better population health outcomes are achievable, if health and inequalities are central in every government policy, if we release innovation working with industry, if we truly harness the power of the voluntary community sector and indeed if we support people to invest in their own health, in their own communities – also investing in a much greater collaborative leadership approach.
This support of course must sit along-side our own internal work to restore services, tackle unacceptable waiting times, drive up efficiency and invest in technology and innovation. Many of the building blocks are in place – but we need support to deliver.
Jonathan Patton, chair of the South Eastern HSCT and spokesperson for the NI Confederation of Health and Social Care, explains: "As members of the wider NHS Confederation we are joining our NHS colleagues in calling for a new leadership paradigm 'National Mission – System Leadership – Local Engagement.' For example, we suggest that there should be a Citizens’ Jury on the design of our services – local people must be involved in helping create the services of the future – and local people must be much more involved in the new area based planning model.
“Unsurprisingly in this report we also call for increased funding and a three-year budget, and prioritisation of investment in workforce – we know that these issues will not resolve overnight- so our commitment as leaders is to use the resources we are allocated to best effect balancing tackling waiting lists with investment in reform”.
“While we in the system continue to challenge ourselves to work proactively in line with international best practice- we will not be able to achieve the outcomes that the public want and need without a different approach.
We commend this report to the public and politicians alike.”
The report sets out four core priorities – investment in workforce; sustainable funding; service redesign; collaborative and engaged leadership – together with eight supporting priorities: recovery and transformation; population health approach; mental health; social care; investment in technology; engaged patients, public and partners; innovation and economy; meeting net zero carbon committments.