The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) welcomes the report by Sir Liam Donaldson released today and said it would be carefully considering all of the recommendations.
Chief Executive of the HSCB Valerie Watts said that the report made a valuable contribution to ensuring the continued delivery of safe, quality and effective services in Northern Ireland.
“The report makes a number of key recommendations on how the entire Health and Social Care system can improve and become more focused, agile and responsive to the needs of patients and service users, which we very much welcome.
“It is reassuring that Sir Liam Donaldson concluded that the approach to incident reporting and learning in Northern Ireland is as effective as in the rest of the UK and other parts of the world. He found that under reporting of incidents is less likely in Northern Ireland than in many other jurisdictions.
“The report also makes a number of key proposals on how the serious adverse incident procedure could be further strengthened and how learning from serious incidents could be embedded into the culture of organisations to further reduce risk and improve outcomes. We will fully consider these proposals as part of the revised procedure for incident reporting,” she said.
Mrs Watts stressed that a key focus for the HSCB was to ensure there is an effective commissioning model in place to meet the needs of the population in Northern Ireland now and into the future.
“The range of services that the Board has prioritised, commissioned and invested in has led to improved outcomes for patients and clients, with life expectancy continuing to increase for both men and women. All Trusts in Northern Ireland are within or better than the expected Hospital Standardised Mortality ratios, performing better than many English NHS Acute Trusts. Recent surveys have shown that there are high levels of satisfaction with the quality of care provided in hospitals, by GPs and by community pharmacies.
“There has been significant progress made in developing and enhancing a wide range of social care services which put the needs of the service user at the centre of the care provided.
“I know that there is always room for continual improvement, including reviewing how services are commissioned.
“Since taking up post seven months ago, I have said publicly on a number of occasions that it would be timely to take forward a review of commissioning and I have discussed terms of reference with the Department,” she said.
Primarily the review will look at how the HSCB commissions the full range of health and social care services with particular reference to:
Mrs Watts added: “The Transforming Your Care (TYC) review set out the road map for the reform of health and social care in Northern Ireland which is essential to ensure that people in Northern Ireland can continue to access safe and quality care.
“The scale and pace of reform now needs to be reviewed but we are firmly committed to continuing to embed that vision into the whole commissioning process to ensure that the design and provision of services meet the needs of the population and are sustainable into the future.
“We very much welcome Sir Liam’s conclusions that the pattern of services in Northern Ireland need to change, and that politicians, media and the general public have a key role in empowering reform.
“As we drive forward the reform programme, we will look at all opportunities, subject to available resources, to strengthen and refocus commissioning, to further develop clinically led commissioning, and to reach out further to local communities, community and voluntary organisations, and clinicians and social care professionals working across primary, secondary and community care.”