Northern Ireland has the fastest growing and ageing population in the UK, the Health and Social Care Board’s Director of Transforming Your Care, Pamela McCreedy, told the Pensioners’ Parliament in Belfast today.
Mrs McCreedy said that by 2022 the number of older people will increase by 26% and told the Parliament that the changes proposed under Transforming Your Care were essential for ensuring safe, resilient and high quality care into the future.
“People are living longer and this is fantastic and a testament to the health and social care services we provide, however, this also means increased demand of services together with the increasing prevalence of long term conditions such as respiratory, diabetes and stroke. Also, the rising cost of technologies, drugs and inflation are to be considered. It is therefore vitally important that we prepare our services for the future,” she said.
The Transforming Your Care Director outlined a range of projects and initiatives introduced to help improve services for older people offering them more choice and independence. These included:
Mrs McCreedy also provided an update on the Making Choices consultation on the future of statutory residential care homes, which finished in March, as the post consultation report is due to be published in June.
Mrs McCreedy added: “These examples of change are about how Transforming Your Care initiatives are making real impacts for our patients, users and their families. But there is no room for complacency. It is often said that change is a journey, and making and sustaining changes in our health and social services is no different.
“Looking ahead there is still much for us to do across the whole health and social care system, we are just now beginning the second year of our journey of implementation.
“We need to continue to deliver planned, measured thoughtful change with proper investment and time given to building alternatives and new services.
“We remain committed to the vision set out in Transforming Your Care which aims to provide people with support, choices and dignity as they grow older.”