“Reform is not an option, it is a necessity”…. Heath Minister Edwin Poots.
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The Health Minister has said the rising demand for health care means “we must reform and modernise otherwise we will fail our patients”
Minister Poots was speaking to around 150 nurses and midwives at the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council’s annual conference for nursing and midwifery at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey.
He said: “Yesterday, I announced the consultation on proposals arising from Transforming Your Care and I encourage everyone to respond. This reform programme will have a greater impact on the delivery of services than anything that has gone before.
“Let me be clear: this reform will affect you and your family, it will change how health care is delivered in your area and you have the right to comment, challenge and let me know how you feel about it. It’s important and it needs careful consideration.
“We cannot continue delivering services in the same way as we have been – people are living longer, demand on the service is rising and ultimately, we need to make better use of technology and resources to ensure the money we have is being spent in the best way. Without addressing these challenges, there is an increased risk of the system failing patients.”
Mr Poots said he expected the anticipated small reduction in the number of staff employed by the HSC could be managed without the need for compulsory redundancies.
He said: “The changes proposed and the shift in services into the community may mean some staff working in a slightly different way or in a different place. Some staff may choose not to make this change and they will be supported in their decision.
”The Minister added: “My aim on this is clear… I want the best possible care and the best possible outcomes for patients. I want more care to be delivered closer to the patient’s home; I want patients to have fewer visits to hospital in the first instance and spend less time in hospital when they do need to visit. I want new technology to be used where appropriate and I want to stop doing what isn’t working.
“One case of poor care is one too many in my eyes and we must continue to strive for excellence. To achieve this, reform is not an option, it is a necessity.”