Care shifts towards home in reform plans

POOTS,-EDWIN Northern Ireland needs to think beyond an “institution-led approach” to providing health and social care provision, Health Minister Edwin Poots stated as he outlined plans to implement the Transforming Your Care (TYC) review.

TYC aims to deliver most care for patients and clients at home and allow hospitals to focus on accidents, emergencies and other serious cases.

“Healthcare is universal. It is one of the very few things which touch the lives of just about everyone in our population,” Edwin Poots said. “The TYC proposals represent a landmark change in the delivery of that care.”

Seventeen integrated care partnerships, covering the whole province, are to be put in place by March 2014. In each partnership, health and social care staff and voluntary and community organisations will work out how to respond to local needs, bring care closer to the home of the patient or client, and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Half of statutory residential homes will close by 2018. £3.2 million will be invested in improving social care over the next three years. £1 million will be invested in improving end-of-life care in nursing homes.

A consultation on TYC took place between October 2012 and January 2013. Responses indicated strong overall support for the plans but also emphasised the need for working alternatives to be in place before change occurs.

Extra support for front-line staff and carers was sought. Respondents also wanted the voluntary and community sector to be closely involved in designing services and greater co-operation between government departments and agencies.

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