Date for the diary – O’Neill

Date published: 29 November 2016


Health Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has announced a series of public meetings on the proposed criteria to be used to reconfigure, change and improve our health service.


On 11 November 2016, the Minister launched a consultation on the criteria for reconfiguring our health and social care services. The consultation will run until Friday 20 January 2017. 

Alongside this a series of 13 public meetings will be scheduled across the north between 5 December 2016 and 17 January 2017 in a number of locations. Four meetings have been arranged for December 2016 and will be facilitated in Omagh, Derry, Ballycastle and Portadown.  Dates and locations are being finalised for the remaining nine and will be published shortly on the consultation website.

The Minister is fulfilling her commitment outlined in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’ to carry out a consultation process on the criteria set out in the Expert Panel report.

Speaking about the consultation meetings, Minister O’Neill said: “We are embarking on a time of major change in Health and Social Care (HSC) in the north and I want to ensure that this is carefully thought through and planned with the input of as many of those who use and deliver HSC services as possible. 

“I want to hear what you have to say. Your views matter and I can assure you that they will be given full consideration in reaching my decision on whether to adopt the criteria which will inform the future of our health and social care system including: where delivery needs to be improved; or, where the continuation of services in their present form is unsustainable.”

The Minister continued: “It is vital that we get the criteria right at the very beginning of the process to enable a clear and transparent framework for assessing how services are configured in the future.

“At the heart of this is the core aim of ensuring patients receive the best care available the first time every time, even if that means travelling further for treatment resulting in better health outcomes for the patient, with quicker recovery times and less need for follow up care.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The public meetings will be held at:

    Omagh, Omagh Enterprise Company - 08 December 2016, 7.00pm - 9.00pm
    Derry, Millennium Forum - 14 December 2016, 7.00pm – 9.00pm
    Ballycastle, Corrymeela Centre - 19 December 2016, 7.00pm – 9.00pm
    Portadown, Seagoe Hotel - 20 December 2016, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

  2. The remaining meetings will be run up until 17 January 2017.  Confirmed dates and venues will be published online on the consultation website shortly.
  3. The criteria set out in the consultation document are:
    • There is evidence that the outcomes for patients using these services are below acceptable levels either in the services as a whole or in particular hospitals, or where there are safety concerns.
    • There is a clear clinical pathway for the patient population. Co-created with patient groups.
    • The service cannot meet professional standards or minimum volumes of activity needed to maintain expertise.
    • The permanent workforce required to safely and sustainably deliver the service is not available/cannot be recruited or retained, or can only be secured with high levels of expensive agency/locum staff.
    • The training of Junior Doctors cannot be provided to acceptable levels.
    • There is an effective alternative ‘out of hospital’ care model or an alternative ‘shared care’ delivery model.
    • The delivery of the service is costing significantly more than that of peers or of alternative ‘out of hospital’ alternatives due to a combination of the above factors.
  4. The consultation document and a response questionnaire can be found at online.
  5. The public consultation closes Friday 20 January 2017.
  6. Consultation Name: Consultation on Criteria for Reconfiguring Health and Social Care Services.

    Responses should be sent to:
    Reconfiguration Criteria Consultation
    Department of Health
    Room C3.6
    Castle Buildings
    Stormont Estate
    Belfast, BT4 3SQ

    Tel:   (028) 905 20020
    Fax:  (028) 905 22335

  7. For media enquiries about this press release, please contact the DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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