Transformation Programme

In October 2016, a 10 year approach to transforming health and social care was launched, “Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together”.

This ambitious plan was the response to the report produced by an Expert Panel led by Professor Bengoa tasked with considering the best configuration of Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland.

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.

In addition to a long term roadmap, Delivering Together set out a number of priorities for the initial 12 month period to make a positive and ambitious start towards the stabilisation, reconfiguration and transformation of our health and social care system. Good progress has been made so far on these actions, with a number of them being achieved already. A report setting out progress towards the aims of Delivering Together and the actions in contains is now available.

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 (TAB) (TAB Terms of Reference) 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 (TIG Terms of Reference) 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 here

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.

Transformation Advisory Board

The Department of Finance’s consultation on the 2021-22 draft Budget document which sets out the Northern Ireland Executive’s proposed spending plans for the one year period from 1 April 2021 to March 2022 closed on 25 February 2021. The Transformation Advisory Board submission to the Department of Finance consultation on the draft 2021/22 budget is provided below.

Programme progress highlights

Work is continuing across a range of transformation activities, some of these are highlighted below:

The encompass Programme

The encompass Programme will introduce a digital, integrated health and care record to Northern Ireland.  It will mean a patients’ health and care information will be available to those who need it in one digital record, and as individuals we will be able to securely access our information and interact with the system.

Dr Michael Quinn, encompass’ Clinical Director, explains further.

The programme’s Senior Responsible Owner is Dr Michael McBride (Chief Medical Officer) and the Transformation Implementation Group (TIG) keep a close interest on progress, recognising that it will be hugely important in our transformation journey.

Design has started, and the procurement process for the Programme will start soon with the aim of beginning implementation in 2020.  Further information on the encompass Programme can be found here or by contacting the Team at

HSC Workforce Strategy 2026

The Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy 2026:  Delivering for our People was published on 14 May 2018.  The Strategy was developed by the Department and health and social care bodies in close co-operation with trade unions and other organisations.  The Department is committed to further close and co-operative working to implement the actions. 

At the heart of the strategy is the stated aim that by 2026, we meet our workforce needs, and the needs of our workforce – both equally important.  The 10 year strategy is designed to be a long term approach which can take account of changes and improvements to health and social care over its life. The first action plan runs to 31 December 2020 and contains 24 specific actions, and includes a regional HSC careers service aimed not only at the existing workforce but also young people and possible returners to service.

Details of an initial allocation of £15m in workforce development, from the £100m transformation fund for 2018/19, were also revealed.  Around a third of the £15m will be directed towards nursing, midwifery and allied health professional workforce, including increasing our total training places for nursing and midwifery to an all time high for Northern Ireland.

Transformation Funding

Earlier this month the Department released further details of how the £100m HSC Transformation Fund would be spent.  The £15m for enhancing primary care includes funding to enable the roll-out of multi-disciplinary teams this year in two areas initially, each serving in the region of 100,000 people.

A further £30m has been announced for reforming community and hospital services such as cancer, stroke, paediatric services and diabetes care and prevention, and implementing transformative change through initiatives like introducing elective care centres and medicines. 

In addition to this, £5m will be invested in a range of targeted actions aimed at strengthening the voice of those who use and those who deliver HSC services, with another £5m to build capacity for system wide quality improvement through investments in technology and supporting innovation.

In March this year, the Department announced £30m for targetting waiting times and towards achieving stabilisation of current hospital waiting lists.

Allocation of Transformation Funding

Elective Care Centres

In our previous Transformation Update we reported that that work to introduce prototype elective care centres for varicose veins and cataract surgery had started.

Teresa Molloy, Director of Performance and Service Improvement in the Western Trust, and Raymond Curran, Head of Optometry at the Health and Social Care Board have now been appointed as Chairs to the groups who will take this work forward.  Both groups will be co-chaired by clinical leads.

Members will be selected to reflect a range of relevant knowledge, skill and experience, including service users.  It is expected that the two prototypes will be ready for implementation by the end of the year.

Looked After Children

Together with the Department of Education, the Department has launched a public consultation on a draft Strategy for Looked After Children, Improving Children’s Lives.  The joint strategy was developed with the input of key stakeholders, including children and young people who are care-experienced.  It aims to improve the well-being of looked after children in key areas of their lives.

Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together recognised the Department’s corporate parenting responsibilities and committed to honour these to the fullest extent through being as ambitious for children in care as for our own children.

The public consultation will close on 4 July 2018 and 5 workshops will be jointly hosted by both Departments across Northern Ireland.  Sean Holland, the Department’s Chief Social Worker explains the process in more detail here.

Social Procurement Clauses

The Guidance on the Use of Social Clauses and Social Considerations in Procurement Contracts was launched on 10 May 2018.  The guidance was prepared as part of the work of the transformation workstream “Innovative Use of Social Procurement Clauses” and was developed with stakeholders from the community and voluntary sector, policy leads and health and social care organisations.

The new guidance will assist HSC staff involved in procurement decisions to understand how social clauses can contribute to wider societal goals, maximise the benefits of the expenditure being undertaken and underpin the delivery of health and wellbeing to the population of Northern Ireland.

Transformation Implementation Group at Nicon 2018

The NICON 2018 conference was held over 2 days on 17/18 April 2018, and Delivering Together was the theme of this year’s conference.  The event annually brings together delegates from the HSC alongside speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, colleagues from other sectors and visiting experts.

Richard Pengelly, DoH Permanent Secretary and Chair of TIG gave the opening keynote address and a panel of TIG members spent an hour answering questions and sharing their personal reflections on the transformation process, as well as meeting delegates over lunch.  This was particularly well received by attendees and visibly served to illustrate how senior system leaders are working together in practice.

Sharon Gallagher, the Department’s Director of Transformation, also provided a progress update on Key Transformation Priorities.

The slide presentations from NICON18 are available on their website.


Related to Transformation Programme

Most recent publications

Access to information

How to request information from the Department of Health including Freedom of Information, information about yourself and the type of information we commit to publish on a regular basis. More...

Back to top