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Health Minister Edwin Poots addresses Unscheduled and Emergency Care Summit

Health Minster Edwin Poots will address Northern Irelandís most senior health professionals today at the College of Emergency Medicineís Unscheduled and Emergency Care Summit.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The summit, organised by the College of Emergency Medicine, with members from across the UK, will bring together Northern Ireland's most senior representatives of hospital medicine, general practice, nursing, social work, allied health professionals, as well as managers and representatives of Trade Unions.

Minister Poots will tell delegates that no suggestion is off the table when it comes to finding solutions to improve the quality of unscheduled and emergency care in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said: “This Unscheduled and Emergency Care Summit is about whole system solutions. I have said before that many of the solutions to the challenges in Emergency Departments (ED) will be found outside the door of the ED. That is why I have asked the College to ensure this summit brings together some of the most senior health professionals across Northern Ireland and charge them with looking at these UK-wide issues systemically.

“Since becoming Minister I have been struck by the fact that wherever one looks at the health sector across the UK, one finds a great deal of commonality in the challenges faced. An ageing population together with the increasingly complex nature of healthcare interventions, is challenging health systems everywhere.

“These challenges are by no means unique to Northern Ireland, nor to the UK for that matter. We are in many ways victims of our own success. People, especially elderly people, are living longer fuller lives. Conditions which in the past would have been fatal are now able to be managed appropriately with ongoing support. This is to be greatly welcomed. However it does present the health and social care system with significant challenges as to how we work.”

The summit aims to find out how best to maximise the effectiveness of urgent and unscheduled care services in Northern Ireland, examine the issues and challenges facing services both regionally and nationally and identify best practice and successful strategies on which to build greater capacity and resilience across unscheduled care.

The Minister continued: “I expect that the summit will not only share vital learning, but will also produce definitive proposals for my consideration in June of this year alongside and complementary to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority’s report. We are here to learn from each other, to discuss best practice and share innovative solutions, to compare and contrast alternative models from across the UK. Summits such as this do not come along often and it is vitally important that we take the opportunity we have available to us today.

“However we must recognise our own limitations. I am under no illusion that we will solve all of the challenges facing us in any one day, or in any one summit. That is why I have asked the College to work with my Department and the wider health sector to ensure that the outputs of the workstreams are captured and that learning and recommendations are developed which can be shared in a 60 day follow-up event to be held on 9 June 2014.”

President of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Clifford Mann said: “The College of Emergency Medicine has recognised that there are major challenges facing the delivery of Emergency Medicine in Northern Ireland. In other parts of the UK the College have convened summits to bring together stakeholders to discuss these priorities and their implementation.

“The College of Emergency Medicine welcomes this opportunity to bring together Northern Ireland’s most senior representatives of emergency medicine and allied health professionals to discuss the action required to address the issues at the heart of the current situation affecting all emergency departments in Northern Ireland.

“We hope as a result of working collaboratively to develop common solutions based on reliable data, informed analysis and best practice the Summit will be a catalyst for change and ensure the winter of 2014/15 is less challenging than 2013/14.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) was established to advance education and research in Emergency Medicine. The College is responsible for setting standards of training and administering examinations for the award of Fellowship and Membership of the College as well as recommending trainees for a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Emergency Medicine. The College works to ensure high quality care by setting and monitoring standards of care, and providing expert guidance and advice on policy to relevant bodies on matters relating to Emergency Medicine.
  2. The College issued a call for action in the form of 10 Priorities for resolving the crisis in Emergency Departments Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.
  3. For further information please contact the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.