Urgent care public consultation launched as Robin Swann aims to ease ‘severe strain’ in system
The public is being asked to give their views on emergency and emergency care reforms in Northern Ireland, as the Minister of Health launched a new consultation on Wednesday.
Establishing three “strategic priorities” to transform the service, the consultation will continue until June 15.
In the consultation document, Minister Robin Swann acknowledges the “severe pressures” currently facing hospitals and said the current system “falls far short of the service we are all striving to provide”.
Last month it was revealed that one in seven patients who had visited the emergency room [Emergency Departments] in December 2021 were delayed by more than 12 hours.
The government’s target is for patients to wait no more than 12 hours, but Department of Health figures show that out of 58,791 emergency room visits in December 2021, the target was missed for 7,508 people (nearly 13%).
Craigavon Area Hospital reported the longest average time from arrival to admission – 14 hours and 24 minutes.
Mr Swann said the consultation launched “sets a clear path forward” for the service.
“I believe the proposed reforms will help ensure that all citizens of Northern Ireland have equal access to safe urgent and urgent care services, tailored to their specific needs, at the right time and in the right place. “, did he declare.
“Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Addressing the current situation will require sustained efforts and additional recurrent funding, including hospital capacity building.
“That’s why we need the long-term plan presented in the consultation document.
“Our staff continue to do everything they can to provide the best possible service under extremely difficult circumstances.
“We owe it to them and everyone who uses these services to achieve major and lasting improvements.”
He added: “We are already investing in our workforce and have delivered on our commitment to create an additional 900 places for nursing and midwifery students.
“This means that in 2021/22 we have ordered a total of 1,325 nursing and midwifery training places, the highest on record and an increase of 86% compared to 2015/16.
“Urgent and urgent care services belong to all of us and this is a chance to shape and improve these services to ensure they are suitable to meet all of our current and future needs.
“The mantra of urgent and urgent care reform is to see the right person, in the right place, the first time. I urge everyone to think about and respond to the proposals made in this public consultation.