Minister to field questions on future of health service

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill

AMID growing concerns about major changes in the health service and what it might mean for local hospitals like SWAH in Enniskillen, the Health Minister will visit Fermanagh in January to hear the views of members of the public.
Michelle O’Neill is hosting a series of 13 public meetings over the next two months on the proposed criteria to be used to “reconfigure, change and improve” the North’s health service. There are fears that such changes could see a reduction in services delivered locally and a greater concentration of resources in larger acute hospitals like Altnagelvin.
The Minister says she is fulfilling her commitment, outlined in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’, to carry out a consultation process on the criteria set out in the Expert Panel report.
Speaking about the consultation meetings, Ms O’Neill said: “We are embarking on a time of major change in Health and Social Care (HSC) in the North. I want to ensure that this is carefully thought through and planned with the input of as many of those who use and deliver HSC services as possible.
“I want to hear what you have to say. Your views matter and I can assure you that they will be given full consideration in reaching my decision on whether to adopt the criteria which will inform the future of our health and social care system including: where delivery needs to be improved; or, where the continuation of services in their present form is unsustainable.”
The Minister added: “It is vital that we get the criteria right at the very beginning of the process to enable a clear and transparent framework for assessing how services are configured in the future.
“At the heart of this is the core aim of ensuring patients receive the best care available the first time every time, resulting in better health outcomes for the patient, with quicker recovery times and less need for follow up care.”
The public meeting will be held at the Killyhevlin Hotel on Tuesday, 17th January at 7pm.

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