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Minister outlines progress on overhaul of Northern Ireland healthcare

22 March 2013 - 4:29pm

More details of how health services in Northern Ireland will be overhauled over the next five years, with a shift towards a community model, have been laid out by the Northern Ireland Executive.

File 114297Minister for health Edwin Poots (right) addressed the assembly this week to outline how planning and delivery of health and social care services will change in the medium and longer term.

The speech was a response to the ‘Transforming Your Care: Vision to Action’ consultation which closed in January.

Mr Poots described ‘overwhelming public support for the proposals’ and said the new model of integrated health and social care services would focus on prevention initiatives and earlier intervention.

‘More services should be provided in the community, closer to people’s homes where possible, and there should be more personalised care,’ the minister said.

In its response to the consultation, the CSP had highlighted the value of physiotherapy in early intervention and promoting independence, both of them aims of the government policy.

However, speaking after the announcement by the minister Tom Sullivan, CSP policy officer for Northern Ireland, said details of the new integrated care partnerships  – multi-sector networks that will deliver care locally – were still lacking.

‘We still don’t know who will be on them or how they will operate, only that all 17 are expected to be operational by March 2014,’ Mr Sullivan said.

The minister also acknowledged the potential value of self referral to physiotherapy services during a session to the NI health committee on Wednesday.

The minister stated that if self referral was happening elsewhere there was no reason it couldn’t happen in Northern Ireland.

John Compton, chief executive of the regional health and social care board confirmed that discussions had been ongoing with the profession regarding pilot arrangements for self referral and that it was ‘on its way’.


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