Change is essential to delivering the world class health and social care (HSC) services the people of Northern Ireland deserve. An aging population presents challenges to services. Advances in treatments, drugs and technologies means that outcomes are improving all the time, but this also puts pressure on services.
For too long HSC services have been planned and managed around structures and buildings. This will change. Delivering Together puts people at the forefront. The focus is on enabling people to stay well for longer. Where care or support is needed it will be wherever possible provided in the community setting. If specialist interventions are required these will be of high quality and delivered in a safe and timely way.
A programme of work is underway to deliver the ambition set out in Delivering Together. This work places a strong emphasis on ensuring the user’s voice is heard, as they will play a key role in developing and implementing new services and care pathways.
Delivering Together sets out 18 specific actions to be taken forward over the first 12 months. Good progress has been made so far on these actions, with a number of them being achieved already. Two key groups are in place to provide strategic oversight to this work – the Transformation Advisory Board and the Transformation Implementation Group.
The Transformation Advisory Board acts in an advisory capacity to oversee the direction of reform. Members of the Board have been drawn from the field of independent experts, unions and user representatives.
The Transformation Implementation Group leads the design, development and implementation of the Transformation Programme. The Transformation Implementation Group is chaired by the DoH Permanent Secretary, and includes leaders and clinicians from across the Department and the Health and Social Care system. Notes and Actions from Transformation Implementation Group meetings are published below.
A public consultation has been completed on the criteria to inform how services are changed to improve quality and sustainability. A plan to improve elective care services, including addressing the problem of long waiting lists, has been published and work started on its implementation.
Work is well underway on the development of workforce and leadership strategies, to make sure that the health and social care system has the right people and the right leadership to deliver safe, high quality services now and meet the challenges of the future. We are also developing a system for identifying and scaling up good practice across the health and social care system.
Work has been taken forward on the review of services, with a public consultation on pathology services being conducted, the launch of new strategies for paediatric services and a new strategic framework for diabetes services, and consultations planned on stroke and imaging services. Preliminary work has also been undertaken with regard to developing proposals for elective care centres and the development of multi-disciplinary teams in primary care.
Transformation of health and social care services is a long term goal. Delivering Together provides with a clear roadmap to take forward the work of transformation.