Health policy

Making Life Better, Donaldson report


Systems, Not Structures: Changing Health and Social Care

In November 2015, the then Minister for Health, Simon Hamilton MLA announced he would appoint an expert, clinically led panel to consider and lead an informed debate on the best configuration of HSC services in NI.  An Expert Panel chaired by Professor Rafael Bengoa was appointed in January 2016 to debate a sustainable way forward for the future provision of health and social care in Northern Ireland.

Unscheduled care

The DoH Unscheduled Care Task Group was established by the then Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, and endorsed by Jim Wells MLA, to take forward recommendations of an RQIA review of unscheduled care services in the Belfast Trust, address the associated regional recommendations and  consider the outcomes of the Royal College of Nursing and College of Emergency Medicine summits into unscheduled care.

Developing better health services

Developing Better Services is changing the way in which health care services are provided to patients throughout Northern Ireland. These changes are taking place at local, sub-regional and regional levels and are reflected both in where and how these services are being provided. 

Connected health economy

Developing a connected health economy: the economy and jobs initiative included a number of measures to help support economic growth, including a commitment to establish a Task and Finish Group under the remit of the Connected Health and Prosperity Board, to exploit the economic opportunities from the health and social care (HSC) sector.

Making Life Better

'Making Life Better' is the strategic framework for public health. It is designed to provide direction for policies and actions to improve the health and well being of people in Northern Ireland and to reduce health inequalities.

Primary care strategy

Following approximately two years of development and consultation the Department published its Primary Care Strategic Framework - Caring for People Beyond Tomorrow - on 12 October 2005.

Transforming your care

The strategy and action plan set out in Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together builds on the strong foundations laid by Transforming Your Care and other programmes of change, as well as the report of Professor Bengoa’s Expert Panel “Systems not Structures”. 

Donaldson report

On 8 April 2014 former Health Minister Edwin Poots announced his intention to commission former Chief Medical Officer of England, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, to advise on the improvement of governance arrangements across the HSC.



Individual Funding Request

This policy document outlines the conditions and criteria under which hospital consultants, on behalf of their patients, can make an application to the Individual Funding Request (IFR) Regional Scrutiny Committee (RSC) for treatment which is not normally commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) under defined conditions. This policy applies to any patient for whom the Health and Social Care Board is the responsible commissioner for health and social care.

Review of General Surgery

Historically general surgery was a very broad discipline but over time developments in knowledge and technology has led to surgery becoming increasingly specialised.  As new specialties such as urology and vascular emerged the generality of general surgery has diminished and today it focusses mainly on the digestive system.

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