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1 November 2016 Edition

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‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill launches her 10-year vision to transform North’s health and social care system

• Sinn Féin Health Minister Michelle O’Neill

Michelle O’Neill said this is an opportunity for a ‘fresh start’, supported by the Executive – not just the will of one minister or one department.

ASSEMBLY Sinn Féin Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’ – a 10-year vision to transform the North’s health and social care system.

Unveiled on Tuesday 25 October, the plan was compiled after considering a report from the ‘Systems, Not Structures; Challenging Health and Social Care’ by a panel of experts led by former Basque Health Minister Professor Rafael Bengoa. 

Sinn Féin said that the vision announced by Minister O’Neill is “part of Sinn Féin’s commitment to building an all-Ireland universal health system which is free at the point of delivery”.

The Health Minister said that the system, itself, is now “at breaking point” facing a number of challenges, not least demographic changes and considerable health inequalities which continue to persist. 

“The way services are organised is constraining transformation and our ability to provide high-quality services,” Michelle O’Neill said.

“We need to support people to keep well in the first place and when they need care and support, services should be safe and of the highest quality. 

“In line with the draft Programme for Government, we will move from a focus on action based targets to one based on patient outcomes and co-production of services.”

She added:

“Across health and social care, clinicians and staff are working harder than ever to deliver high quality care and support to patients and carers but working in a system designed to meet 20th century needs that does not work in the 21st century world.”    

She said this is an opportunity for a ‘fresh start’, supported by the Executive – not just the will of one minister or one department. 

“There is total agreement across the Executive that this needs to be done. 

“Changing the health system is the right thing to do, it’s the right time to do it, and it is right for the people who use it. 

“This change will be planned, managed, incremental– this is not a ‘Big Bang’.  Meaningful change does not happen overnight. This will take time, money and the support of staff, those who use our health and social care services, as well as the support of Government.

“I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all those working in the service; the depth of their commitment and compassion continues to astound me.  

“Thank you for all that you do to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live in the North.”

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