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Leadership and transparency are vital in driving change, Poots

Health Minister Edwin Poots today re-stated his determination to address the challenges faced in transforming our health service.
Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mr Poots was delivering the keynote address at the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON) Conference at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry. Addressing managers across the Health and Social Care system, the Minister emphasised the importance of both leadership and transparency.

He said: “In order to continue to build trust, there is a need for greater openness and transparency. That is why I am moving ahead on public accountability for Arms Length Bodies. From May onwards, a number of organisations will take part in public accountability meetings with me each year. I will also take opportunities to meet more frequently with groups of service users and staff on the ground to hear their views about the services that these organisations provide. I hope that these meetings will enhance the accountability of our health and social care services into the future.

“We need to be 100% committed to change. Change is inevitable and it is up to each of us to embrace it, to learn from it and from each other and to make the decisions and take the action that improves outcomes for patients, clients and service users. We all want the best quality of care for our families – and that means care which is focussed on achieving the best outcomes for our patients and service users. This is embedded in the aims of Transforming Your Care and will remain at the core of my vision for our health and social care system.

“With all parts of the system working closer together, we can prevent unnecessary hospital visits and help to ensure that patients are cared for closer to home. It is this ‘without walls’ approach which will need to characterise so much of our approach to the future of health and social care services.”

The Minister highlighted the importance of innovation, saying: "If we are truly to embed innovation, we must become less risk averse- as individuals, as organisations, as a system. Accountability and an evidence base are clearly essential but our leaders need the freedom to develop ideas. We need to be quicker at recognising better practice and implementing it more broadly.

“I want leaders who are willing to do things differently. Every initiative won't always work. But I'll value those who try and don't always succeed over those who don't take that risk".

In October 2012 the Minister launched a consultation exercise on TYC proposals. There were 2,242 individual responses received which are being analysed by the HSCB. The Board is preparing a consultation report summarising the consultation findings which will be submitted to the Minister to consider and act upon.

The Minister concluded: “We must ensure that we keep our service users and patients at the front and centre of this process and that their needs and their rightful expectation of high quality and compassionate care must be the key driver and the key goal in all our efforts.

“It will be this which I will be keeping in mind when I consider the outcome of the consultation exercise on ‘Transforming Your Care: Vision to Action’ and which I hope that you will all keep in mind as we take forward our shared vision of transformed care for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Gerard Guckian, Chairman of NICON, commented: “We are delighted to bring the conference to Derry/Londonderry in its City of Culture 2013 year. Health and Social Care in the City and indeed throughout Northern Ireland is changing. We need to get involved in the conversation of change and ensure we cater for the needs of our patients and clients well into the future. We want to provide the best care possible; to keep people well and provide care at home or closer to it.

“To do this everyone involved in health and social care will need to work and think differently. Using technology, providing services in the community, innovating, working across disciplines, building new partnerships, changing where services are provided - this conference will help us all create an environment to successfully deliver the change.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care is the voice of management in the integrated Health and Social Care system (HSC). Part of the UK-wide NHS Confederation, it is the only membership body for all HSC organisations.

2. Interview bids and media inquiries about this press release to DHSSPS press office on 028 9052 0505. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.