Health Minister Robin Swann today refuted suggestions that his Department could dispense with public consultations on proposed changes to services.
He was responding to a media report following yesterday’s meeting of the Assembly Health Committee.
Mr Swann stated: “There has been no decision to set aside the need for public consultation in respect of health service changes. The Department and the wider health service remain committed to undertaking public consultations.
“Where a proposed health service change is local consultation will be carried out by the relevant Trust, if required. Where proposed changes are significant, regional and system-wide, the department will lead on public consultations. This has been the approach in the past and continues to be the approach now.
“The discussion at the Health Committee meeting was centred on temporary changes made to the long-established Framework Document, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of all health and social care bodies.
“These changes primarily involve the establishment of a new Management Board, reporting to the Minister. The purpose is to make the entire Health and Social Care system more agile in its ability to quickly rebuild services and at the same time respond to potential further Covid-19 surges. This is essential if we are to respond quickly in a highly challenging environment. The changes to the Framework Document has been the subject of a sounding exercise, involving key stakeholders. The responses to this sounding exercise are being considered and the intention is to follow with a 12 week consultation on the changes in due course.
“I can confirm that this temporary change to governance and decision making arrangements does not dispense with the obligation to undertake appropriate public consultations on health service changes.”
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