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Northern Ireland health system must transform, says Department of Health

Will transformation save the Northern Ireland health and care system?

Northern Ireland’s health service must transform if it is to cope with current and future challenges, according to the Department of Health (DH).

Delivering a stark assessment of the issues facing the health and care service, DH director of communications David Gordon admitted that there were deep and worsening problems, including lengthy waiting lists, emergency departments under severe stress and pressures on general practice.

Mr Gordon said that the ageing population was bringing some of the most significant long-term policy challenges facing society, and that big decisions lay ahead.

He said that transformation was the answer, involving reshaping hospital services, a greater focus on primary care, helping people to manage their own conditions, and offering alternatives to hospital referrals.

Mr Gordon said the process recommended in the Bengoa report had already started, but that it would not be easy or quick.

Further information

Department of Health: Message from DH director of communications David Gordon