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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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healthandsocialcareNovember 11 2015

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Hamilton has proposed health and social commissioning be overhauled and the Health and Social Care Board be closed down. Instead, he says a specially appointed panel should draw up proposals for a new structure to reduce bureaucracy and unnecessary layers within the health and care system.

Mr Hamilton’s proposals follow on from Sir Liam Donaldson’s Report reviewing health and social care in Northern Ireland. While not accepting the full proposals in the report that an “impartial international panel of experts” should configure services to ensure world-class standards of care, the minister said he will appoint a panel to lead the debate on the best configuration of health and social care services. This “will draw on the experience of people working in Northern Ireland, but use international expertise as appropriate.”

Mr Hamilton said that health and care suffers from a “common Northern Ireland public sector problem” in that it is too big and bureaucratic and does not deliver best value. “Essentially it has been a model that controls and constrains, rather than one that supports an exceptionally talented and committed group of professionals to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

A simplistic view would be that more money is the answer to problems, he said, but warned that “ultimately, pouring more money into an inefficient system when simultaneously we are being buffeted by a myriad of challenges will see us fall further backwards.”

Instead, he said: “I want a clinically led conversation to advise us what the services the people of Northern Ireland should expect from their Health and Social Care system.”

The Ulster Chemists Association has welcomed the announcement about a “radical overhaul” of health and social care in Northern Ireland. “The need to transform has been recognised by all with the publication of Transforming your Care and everyone agreed it just needed to be delivered,” it said.

“Plans to underpin the transformation with dedicated funding is particularly welcome as this was a major flaw in Transforming Your Care [the 2011 roadmap for change in the provision of Northern ireland’s health and social care]. The call for political consensus is refreshing and is the right approach to take to ensure transformation is delivered.”

Killian Johnston, UCA President, added: “Recognition that commissioners should work closely with local primary care practitioners is a validation of the sterling work undertaken by independent community pharmacists. Community pharmacy will continue to represent the profession in this arena working alongside GP colleagues in improving and developing health services in our localities.”

Links:

Northern Ireland Executive announcement

Health Minister’s speech

UCA response

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