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Poots unveils Health and Social Care Services Review

A new model for Northern Irelandís Health and Social Care Services is designed to improve patient outcomes and drive up quality of care, Edwin Poots said today.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Speaking in the Assembly as he unveiled Transforming Your Care, A Review of Health and Social Care, the Health Minister said: "The Report contains a compelling set of proposals for the future of health and social care services in Northern Ireland. It proposes a model which puts the individual at the centre. Health and social care services will be increasingly accessible in local areas. Patients will have to deal with fewer professionals and will be at the centre of decision making about their treatment. There will be a significant shift from provision of services in hospitals to provision of services in the community, in the GP surgery, closer to home, where it is safe and effective to do this.”

The Review of Health and Social Care was carried out by a team chaired by John Compton and advised by a panel of independent experts. Over 3,000 people contributed to the Review. Its main recommendations are: more care delivered in the home; changing care packages for people in nursing homes; increased role of the GP; increased role of pharmacy in medicines management and prevention; increased use of community and social care services to meet people’s needs; and outreach of acute services into the community.

Mr Poots said that the Review had set out evidence for a need to change. The current model was not sustainable and, if maintained, would not be able to provide effective patient care. He said: "We must stop doing what does not work, challenge out-of-date practices and acknowledge that some of our services are no longer fit for purpose. The system needs to change. Our services need to be resilient, sustainable and safe.”

Mr Poots said that to continue as we are would leave us with an unsustainable service with consequences for patient care and safety. He said there is no 'do-nothing' option.

The Health Minister said that the challenge of the review team was to examine the future provision of services, including acute hospital configuration, the development of primary healthcare services and social care and the interface between sectors to meet our priorities.

The report recommends that each Local Commissioning Groups should draw up specific proposals for hospitals in their areas that meet the principles and criteria laid down by the Review team. It is the report’s view that it is likely only to be possible to provide resilient, sustainable major acute services on five to seven sites. This assumes that the Belfast Trust hospitals are regarded as one network of major acute services.

The Minister added: "This envisages a significant shift in where funding is allocated. This change will not be straight forward. It will require fundamental changes to the way we deliver services and will require substantial re-training of staff. It is about quality, accessibility and safety of patient care.

“This Review has been a wide-ranging and major piece of work which will affect how we all use our Health Service. I will consult fully with the public on any major reconfiguration of services that I intend to take forward.”

The Minister concluded: “I want to thank John Compton for leading the work of this Review, the independent panel members for their challenging and thoughtful contributions, the support team who have worked so hard to produce this report in a very demanding timetable and everyone who contributed comment or input through meetings, discussions and correspondence. Over 3,000 people contributed to this review and I want to express my gratitude to each and every person.”

Notes to editors:

1. The report in full and the Minister’s statement to the Assembly can be found on the DHSSPS website

2. The Minister announced the Review in June 2011. The Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board was asked to lead the Review.

3. The Minister appointed an external advisory panel to assist with the review and provide independent assurance on its approach, methodology, analyses and conclusions.

4. The advisory panel:

  • Professor Chris Ham CBE took up his post as Chief Executive of The King's Fund in April 2010. He has been professor of health policy and management at the University of Birmingham, England, since 1992. From 2000 to 2004 he was seconded to the Department of Health where he was director of the strategy unit, working with Ministers on NHS reform. He was also a non-executive director on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust from 2008-2010. Chris is the author of 20 books and numerous articles about health policy and management. His work focuses on the use of research evidence to inform policy and management decisions in areas such as health care reform, chronic care, primary care, integrated care, performance improvement and leadership. Chris has advised the WHO and the World Bank and has served as a consultant to governments in a number of countries. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and of the Royal College of General Practitioners, an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, and a visiting professor at the University of Surrey.
  • Mark Ennis is Executive Chair of SSE Ireland, which operates four businesses across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland including Airtricity, Ireland's fastest-growing energy supply utility; Airtricity Utility Solutions, Ireland's leading street lighting contractor; SSE Renewables, the largest renewable energy developer in Ireland; and SSE Wind Generation, the largest renewable energy generator in Ireland. He was appointed CEO of Airtricity NI Ltd in 2003 in addition to heading up the company's Retail Business in Ireland until 2007. An Economic Honours Graduate of Queens University of Belfast, with an Open University MBA, Mark has specific responsibility for SSE's Public and Regulatory Affairs in Ireland.
  • Professor Deirdre Heenan is Provost and Dean of Academic Development at the University of Ulster's Magee campus. She is a highly respected researcher, author, lecturer and broadcaster and has published extensively in national and international journals. She is a co founder and former co director of the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, a key statistical resource for policy makers, academics and students. She has published widely on the delivery of health and social care and models of devolution. She is a board member of Ilex the urban regeneration company in Londonderry.
  • Dr Ian Rutter OBE has been a General Practitioner for 24 years with the Westcliffe Practice in Shipley, Yorkshire previously First Wave and Total Purchasing Practice. Until January 2006, he was Chief Executive of North Bradford Primary Care Trust, a Three Star Trust having previously won the Prime Minister's Award for excellence and which won the PCT of the Year in 2006. He is a former Clinical Advisor in the Policy & Strategy Directorate of the Department of Health and at present National Deputy Clinical Director for Primary Care. Former Joint Chief Executive Officer of Airedale PCT and North Bradford PCT, he has also worked as an associate of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and has worked at a senior level within the Department of Health and on committees such as Payment by Results. He retains an ongoing clinical commitment and is at present working part time as the International Faculty Lead for IHI on the Triple Aim Program.
  • Paul Simpson is a retired senior civil servant with extensive experience of working on policy issues in government. Paul spent much of his senior career working in the Department of Health and Social Services with responsibility for governance and accountability, performance management and organisational reform. As Chief Executive of the Health and Social Services Executive and then as a Deputy Secretary in the Department, he had responsibility for overseeing the work of four Health Boards and 19 Health Trusts. Before his retirement he was responsible for local government reform and planning and environmental policy in the Department of the Environment.

5. Media queries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 2841, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.