Health reforms must be inclusive to show goodwill

Health reforms must be inclusive to show goodwill

22 June 2022

PLANS to transform and reconfigure the health and social care sector must be completely transparent and inclusive, a local MLA has insisted.

Last week, Stormont health minister, Robin Swann outlined details of the transformation plan when he met with representatives from five of the main Northern Ireland parties.

The SDLP’s South Down MLA Colin McGrath was one of those in attendance at the meeting when Mr Swann laid out a coordinated plan to address the challenges the health system is facing, which Mr McGrath has welcomed.

“That we have a commitment that no hospital will close is of note as it will be through a fully staffed and resourced health network that we not only achieve better health outcomes, but more importantly, end health inequality, which is rife across the North,” he continued.

“While no hospitals will close, we understand that there will be some reconfiguration of services and we have learned from the pandemic that ‘reconfiguration’ is an issue that needs to be unpicked.”

Mr McGrath believes the coming months will be crucial for the health service and said it is essential that all political parties engage with the process.

He also declared: “I am under no illusion that this is going to require an investment of goodwill from the public which will not be easy, as trust in our political process has been shaken in recent times. 

“So the process must be completely transparent and inclusive to ensure no individual or organisation feels that they have not been listened to.”

Mr McGrath said that moving forward we “simply have to get this right.”

He added: “This is our last chance to get it right. Failure to do so cannot be considered if we are to deliver a stronger and better health service for the public that delivers better outcomes and ends the scourge of health inequality.”