The Department of Health has announced three additional engagement events for the public consultations on reshaping stroke and breast assessment services.
The newly confirmed event at City Hotel in Derry/Londonderry on 22 July will cover both the stroke and breast assessment consultations.
A further engagement event on reshaping breast assessment care will take place on 23 July at Canal Court Hotel, Newry.
On 24 July, an engagement event on reshaping stroke care will be held at Strangford Arms Hotel, Newtownards.
Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “The Department has clearly demonstrated its commitment to intensive public engagement on proposals to reshape services.
“The consultation periods have now been extended twice – to help ensure as many people as possible can participate in the process and make their views known.
“We arranged engagement events in each of the health and social care trust areas and have now added further dates to the schedule.
“We have been keen to respond positively to the very welcome levels of public interest in these consultations.
“I would again encourage everyone to take part – by attending the events and making submissions online or by post.”
Mr Pengelly also highlighted the engagement with service users and the public undertaken before the proposals were issued for consultation.
The Project Board that informed the breast assessment consultation included three patients with lived experience of the service. In addition, surveys were sent to a provincewide sample of service users who had attended an assessment clinic. Patient focus groups and public meetings were also arranged.
The proposals to reshape stroke care follow a pre-consultation process undertaken in 2017 by the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency. Almost 8,000 responses to that pre-consultation were received.
The Reshaping Stroke Care proposals involve specialised Hyperacute Stroke Units offering 24/7 access to faster diagnosis and cutting edge treatments. The central aim of the planned reforms is to significantly reduce disability and save more lives.
The proposals for breast assessment would see services being consolidated on three hospital sites - to help improve waiting times for patients waiting to find out if they have cancer.
Both public consultations run until Friday 2 August.
Notes to editors:
- The Project Board that informed the breast assessment consultation included three patients with lived experience of the breast assessment service. Expressions of interest for these roles were sought through various charity and patient support groups and the NI Cancer Network. It should be noted that these roles were not intended to represent the interests of any geographical areas or organisation, rather it was to bring patients’ lived experience to the Project Board, ensuring that all discussions retained a focus on the patient throughout the process. The additional survey and focus group work was designed and undertaken to ensure the inclusion of views from across the region.
- In an effort to gain the views of those who have used the breast assessment service each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts, on behalf of the HSCB and PHA, sent surveys to a sample of service users who had attended an assessment clinic during March and April 2017. In addition, patient focus groups were held in each Trust area during the month of August. Each Trust was asked to write to 60 service users on the breast self-directed aftercare pathway to invite them to attend. Care was taken to ensure no one on active treatment was invited. Initial conversations have also been held with key voluntary organisations and wider public engagement took place during July and August through public meetings organised by the five Local Commissioning Groups of the HSCB.
- In 2017 the HSCB and PHA undertook a pre-consultation on reshaping stroke care. Almost 8,000 responses to that consultation were received which revealed significant concerns about the potential impact on travel time of a move to a hyperacute stroke network. In response to this, the HSCB and PHA commissioned evidence from both the University of Calgary and Exeter in order to measure the impact on travel time of a range of hyperacute stroke network configurations, as well as the impact on sustainability and improved outcomes.
- Both consultations are available on the Department's website
Reshaping Stroke Care Consultation - Closing date 2 August at 17:00
Reshaping Breast Assessment Services Consultation - Closing date 2 August at 17:00.
Further information on the consultations including supplementary information and Q&As can be viewed on the Department’s website.
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