Continued reform, transformation and innovation are needed to deliver a world class health service for Northern Ireland, according to new Health Minister Simon Hamilton.
He admitted that the challenges faced by the sector – including caring for a growing and ageing population – can sometimes seem “insurmountable” but he remains optimistic.
“People can worry that transformation could result in the care they receive being done very differently,” he remarked. “Staff can worry that change is code for upheaval in how they work. There are worries that reform will lead to the closure of facilities.
“Specialist services provided from specialist facilities is self-evidently the best way forward and it also makes the most effective use of our resources.”
He added: “It’s what results in the highest quality and safety of care for our citizens and what will make Northern Ireland’s health and social care system world class.”
The Minister said that a transformed health sector will be one that embraces innovation, the best of which “comes from the ground up.”
Hamilton is creating a strategic leadership group to “engender a culture change of innovation” and better connect the organisations within the health service.
He concluded: “I want to see a health and social care sector which is accepting of the need for transformation, a willingness to entertain new ideas and to accept change.”