We must continue to drive reform of health and social care services – O’Neill

Date published: 28 June 2016


Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has set out her priorities for the next phase of reform of health and social care.

The Minister was attending the NICON (NI Confederation for Health and Social Care) conference, an annual event that provides a unique forum for over 400 clinicians, service providers and service user representatives to meet and share experiences of health and social care service delivery.
Delivering the opening address at the conference, Health Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Transforming Your Care succinctly captured the future challenges facing our healthcare system. If we are to reform our services to work in a more patient-centred manner; if we are to tackle health inequalities; if we are to address the imbalance between the treatment of physical health and mental health, then we cannot afford to slow down or be deflected from the reform of health and social care services.

“Professor Bengoa has been considering how best our services should be configured and I will consider his advice and recommendations carefully when the report of the expert panel is completed. However, it is clear that we need to move from being a reactive service to become a proactive service. The focus must be on keeping people well, preventing the illnesses that affect many today.”

Setting out her key challenges to the HSC, Minister O’Neill said: “As leaders and champions for reform, I need you to support and encourage people at all levels in your organisations to be involved; to contribute to the conversation, and to feel empowered to do what is required to deliver a better, joined up service. It is important that you demonstrate a clear vision of what world class healthcare looks like so that we can deliver better outcomes for patients and service users.”

Concluding, the Minister said: “I welcome NICON’s continued focus on working together and improving outcomes through innovation and implementation. The north of Ireland is positioning itself as a key player in international networks which focus on sharing good practice in health innovation.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. The membership of NICON includes all HSC trusts and the regional organisations HSC Board, Public Health Agency, Business Services Organisation, and the Patient and Client Council and five of the smaller HSC bodies. The five Local Commissioning Groups are also in membership. In addition, NICON has a range of associate members and partners from industry and the community & voluntary sector.  The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Looking Forward’. 
  2. Other speakers at the NICON conference in the La Mon House Hotel in Comber included:
    • Prof Bengoa, Director, Deusto Business School, Spain
    • Geoff Huggins, Director Health and Social Care Integration, Scottish Government
    • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair, NHS Confederation
    • Steve Tierney Medical Director  Quality Improvement & Medical Informatics Innovation South Central Foundation (SCF), Alaska
    • Michelle Tierney  Vice President of Organizational Development and Innovation South Central Foundation (SCF), Alaska
    • Dr Colin Tate Director of Manchester Primary Care Partnership
  3. Media enquiries about this press release to the DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0567. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number on 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

Share this page

Back to top