Health Minister Simon Hamilton has met with the Chief Executives of the five Health and Social Care Trusts and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to discuss their plans to deal with the expected pressures on unscheduled care services over the winter months.
Speaking afterwards the Minister said: “Over recent weeks I have set out my vision for the reform of the health and social care system to help improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety, remove bureaucracy and strengthen accountability.
“On the 18 November I announced that I had secured a further £4million for winter pressures. To ensure this funding translates as quickly as possible into additional services for patients, I am allocating the majority of this funding to Trusts. I am giving Trusts the operational independence to decide how best to use this funding to deliver unscheduled care services most effectively during the winter months, enabling them to respond quickly to changes in demand.”
He continued: “In the context of this further additional funding, and consistent with my intention to make Trusts more independent and accountable for service delivery, I expect Trusts to work together in the interests of patients – with the full involvement of their senior clinical staff – and take all appropriate measures to eliminate avoidable 12-hour waits for patients and make progress towards the four hour waiting time target this winter.
“I also expect that Trusts ensure that in managing the demands of urgent care this winter they continue to deliver on planned surgery and specialist treatment and minimise any associated delays. I am not satisfied that this balance was achieved last winter, and have set out my expectations for this winter.”
Notes to editors:
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