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Building a stronger health and care infrastructure


Martin Kelly, Programme Director for Primary Care Development, Health and Social Care Board, outlines how the development of an integrated primary and community care service that is closely linked with secondary (hospital) care provision could lead to better outcomes, improved health status and improved cost effectiveness:

“In 2011/12 the Minister indicated that he wished to invest in the development of a primary and community care infrastructure as part of the strategy for improving the overall health and well-being of the community and for improving the delivery of integrated primary, community and secondary care services.

A hub and spoke model is being explored as being an effective model which could be tailored to deliver a full range of services locally. The proposed model aims to maximise the range and improve access to more specialised services nearer to where people live and work.

Each hub would be a ‘one stop shop’ for a wide range of services including GP and Trust led primary care services. This could potentially prevent the development of conditions which might later require hospitalisation; enable greater management of conditions closer to the patient’s home and facilitate earlier discharge from hospital.

During 2014/15 three hub schemes progressed through the construction phase (Banbridge, Ballymena and Omagh) and two further hub schemes (at Lisburn and Newry) progressed through the procurement phase under competitive dialogue.

Over the coming years there will be a need for significant investment in primary care infrastructure to ensure that the physical capacity required to deliver the service model, and the changes in the patterns of delivery, can be progressed. The Health and Social Care Board and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are exploring innovative approaches to delivering this essential investment that will deliver value for money over the coming years.”

Martin concluded:

“We are delighted to see the progress in this first tranche of schemes to improve primary care infrastructure. The Health and Social Care Board looks forward to commissioning many more schemes to develop both hubs and spokes. This will support the new model of health and care provision in NI and deliver improved services to patients.”