Health Minister, Jim Wells, provided the House with an update on ‘Transforming Your Care’ during today’s Question Time. ‘Transforming Your Care’ (TYC) sets out an overarching road map for change in the provision of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, focussing on reshaping how services are structured and delivered in order to make best use of all available resources. While the 2015-16 financial plan does not include funding for services that may support TYC, it remains a priority for the Department. “Ideally we are working to a three- to five-year implementation framework. That, of course, is dependent on financial circumstances.” As such, a lack of success in appeals for funding in monitoring rounds has put the TYC process under considerable stress however “we are still striving, as effectively as we can, to obtain that funding”. In reply to Fearghal McKinney, the Minister added that “on TYC, we are not going into reverse. Everyone is agreed that it is the best way forward for our health-care structures in Northern Ireland, although it has made less progress than we would have liked. I would argue with him about the monitoring rounds: we have made a large number of monitoring round bids for extra resources for TYC. However, I accept that, on many occasions, there have been much more pressing demands on the Department of Finance and Personnel.”
During Topical Questions Phil Flanagan enquired about the progress of legislation to introduce an organ donation opt-out system in Northern Ireland. Currently we are waiting for the introduction of Jo-Anne Dobson’s private member’s bill on the subject and the result of the consultation process. The Minister is also keeping an eye on how successful equivalent legislation proves in the Welsh legislature. Mr Wells also highlighted advertising campaigns and the work of our nurses in encouraging organ donation. He also hopes that progress on Mrs Dobson’s Bill will escalate in the coming weeks.
Also discussed during Question Time was the cost to the Health Service of non-attendance at medical appointments, the recommendations of the Donaldson report, the possible introduction of a Mental Capacity Bill and how to make savings in the Fire and Rescue Service.