Minister O’Neill speaks at RCN Annual Lecture

Date published: 12 December 2016

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has urged nurses to play a key role in transforming the health service.

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill
Health Minister Michelle O'Neill

The Minister was addressing guests at the RCN Annual Lecture in Belfast and said: “The role of nurses in transforming our health service cannot be underestimated  they are pivotal in our health and social care system and are well placed to rise to the challenge and bring about change for the benefit of our patients and the wider population.

“I am committed to real and meaningful partnership working to make the changes I have outlined in my vision ‘Delivering Together’ a reality, using a co-design and co-production approach.  I want to engage directly with nurses and other health care staff in redesigning services to meet the needs of the 21st century.”

Minister O’Neill continued: “I have appointed Richard Barnett to chair a newly established Nursing and Midwifery Task Group that will report to me towards the end of next year with recommendations for how the contribution of nursing and midwifery can be maximised to improve outcomes for our population.”  

The Minister recognised that nurses and midwives are well placed to deliver on preventing poor health, promoting healthy living and helping people stay well. She said this was vital to improving health overall, to help reduce health inequalities, and to help sustain health and social care services into the future.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Minister O’Neill launched her vision statement ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’ on 25 October 2016.
  2. In ‘Delivering Together’ the Minister outlined that a number of areas would be looked at in detail, which included the appointment of a Nursing and Midwifery Task group which will report within 12 months with recommendations for how the contribution nursing and midwifery can be maximised to improve outcomes for the population.
  3. The Minister appointed Richard Barnett (former vice chancellor at Ulster University) as an external lay chair for the Group.  Ten other members have been appointed also.
  4. The Task Group will hold their first meeting in December 2016.
  5. For further information please contact the DOH Press Office on 028 90 520567 or email For out of 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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