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.  


Under DBS we are working to develop a model of health care which will provide high quality, safe, accessible services for the patient wherever he or she may live.

DBS is a modernisation programme which puts the patient first. It is based on the belief that the people of Northern Ireland deserve the best possible health care system – one which is safe, effective and efficient within the limit of available resources.

Of the many and varied projects which make up DBS, our overall goal remains the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland and it is on this which we are focusing as we take forward DBS. 

Our DBS vision

High quality, safe services which are accessible for all and provided by well trained, motivated staff in modern settings.

The new hospital network

The current configuration of 15 acute hospitals will be replaced by a network of nine acute hospitals supported by seven local hospitals, with additional local hospitals in other locations, as appropriate.

Under DBS the nine acute hospitals will be the Royal Hospitals, Belfast City, Ulster, Antrim, Causeway, Altnagelvin, Daisy Hill, Craigavon and the new South West Hospital.

Whiteabbey, Mid Ulster, Lagan Valley, Downe, South Tyrone, and Omagh have been designated as local hospitals with the eventual inclusion of the Mater (although the Mater is to continue to deliver a full range of acute services for a considerable period ahead).

Particular regional specialities within the Eastern Board area (dermatology, plastics and rheumatology) are being relocated and consolidated.

Fracture inpatient services are to be developed at Antrim and Craigavon, with fracture clinics at all acute hospitals.

Consultant-led maternity services are to be delivered at the network of nine acute hospitals, with the potential for development of midwife-led maternity units adjacent to consultant units.

Protected elective capacity is to be developed at Lagan Valley, South Tyrone, the new South West hospital and elsewhere, as appropriate.
Increasing availability and access to day surgery will be a priority.

Additional information on DBS

Associated reports


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