Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Confederation response to Health Minister's statement on the future of health and social care

Heather Moorhead

The Northern Ireland Confederation of Health and Social Care (NICON), today welcomed Minister Simon Hamilton’s statement as he sets out his vision for health and social care in the future.
NICON, the representative body for over 50 health and social care organisations in N Ireland, have one over-riding priority – to focus on delivering transformation– if we are to protect our treasured Health Service for future generations.

Colm McKenna, Chairman of NICON explains “While much progress has already been made in reforming and modernising our system, our members are agreed that more needs to be done – we just need to get on and do it. These announcements today will give impetus, as well as shape and direction to change.

NICON members specifically welcome the focus on reconfiguring our services and underpinning funding to do it. The way forward has been known by experts for many years. We look forward to seeing how the proposed expert panel, involving clinicians, will work. We await with interest details on the suggested political summit –this suggestion aligns with our members call on politicians for collective political leadership. In reality it is the only way this level of change can be successful”.

Speaking about the reallocation of the tasks of the HSC Board, Colm said “We all recognise the need to reduce bureaucracy and provide clear accountability structures. We need to better understand how this shift will support innovation and allow all our organisations to be more flexible, collaborative and agile to deliver the best care possible. The Minister is right, we have very talented and committed people and we need to make sure colleagues and our partners can work in the most effective ways possible to deliver the best outcomes for the population of N Ireland”.

Heather Moorhead, the Director of NICON said these decisions must be set in a wider context “We have been working with our members over the last year to develop our own priorities. We are pressing to see other key areas also tackled; public health, supporting people to take care of themselves, the design of services, getting the workforce right, the use of technology, involving the whole of government and importantly developing a greater culture of collective leadership and designing longer term funding solutions. We need to work in all these areas if we are to deliver world class care in a modern context. Everyone will need to play a role, from patients to politicians, clinicians to community groups. This level of change will be a long journey and will only be possible if everyone is part of the change.”

NICON members look forward to being part of the drive for positive transformation, maintaining focus on what will deliver world class outcomes for citizens.

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