“WE now have an opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
This was the key message from Health Minister Edwin Poots as he outlined his vision for health and social care in Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the annual Chief Nursing Officer conference in Craigavon today (1st June) Mr Poots said, “When I was asked to be the new Minister for Health, I was delighted. For, even though this is one of the most demanding jobs around, it gives us all a real opportunity to make a difference. To make a difference to every person, whether it be giving our children the best start in life, promoting a healthy lifestyle, or supporting those, who through illness or disability are unable to look after themselves, as they would wish.”
The conference theme was ‘Leading for Change’ and Mr Poots warned that tough choices are needed to ensure that we have a service that is fit for the future. Addressing over 250 nurses and midwives he said, “We must stop doing what does not work. If we are to modernise and develop the service, leadership will be required, from us all. As nurse and midwife leaders you have the opportunity to influence the quality and delivery of care in your own specific areas. Through your actions and those of the health and social care team you determine the outcomes for patients and their families.”
The Minister added, “We all face some significant challenges if we are to deliver the services people need.”
In the South Eastern HSC Trust’s area in Co Down, local health campaigners, politicians and the general public may soon be looking for his support to maintain system at the Downe Hospital A&E with middle grade doctors, which the original working plan, instead of the current one with Out Of Hour GP’s.
Mr Poots named eight key priorities for meeting this challenge;
* driving up the quality of services and outcomes;
* increasing productivity;
* greater collaboration with frontline professionals;
* more powerful local commissioning;
* champion preventative and early intervention measures;
* multi-faceted approach to limit unnecessary hospital care;
* encourage charity and voluntary sector assistance to find solutions; and
* explore means of enhancing the overall patient experience.
Chief Nursing Officer Martin Bradley praised nurses and midwives for the work that they do. He said, “This is my last conference as Chief Nursing Officer and I want to thank every single person working in health and social care for the skill and dedication they bring to what is a tough job, day after day.
“I have been privileged to work with a great many nurses and midwives who have shown the innovation, the courage and the resilience to not only lead and manage services in the midst of organisational reforms, but to also bring about change that has led to improved outcomes for patients.”