A public engagement event has taken place to discuss Transforming Your Care (TYC) changes planned across the five district council areas of Armagh, Newry and Mourne, Craigavon, Banbridge, Dungannon and South Tyrone.
The event, which was organised by the Southern Local Commissioning Group (a committee of the Health and Social Care Board), invited members of the public, elected representatives and individuals and groups from the community and voluntary sector to come along and hear about the range of health and social care changes planned in line with the Transforming Your Care review.
Hosting the event, Chair of the Southern Local Commissioning Group (LCG), Sheelin McKeagney welcomed those who attended:
“I’m delighted that so many of you have taken time to come along to hear first-hand about the latest developments and plans both regionally and locally on the implementation of Transforming Your Care (TYC): a regional review of health and social care services across Northern Ireland.
“As we move forward, it is really important that we implement change in a measured and thoughtful way with the involvement of patients, clients, service users, carers, health and social care organisations and staff and the wider public including the voluntary and community sectors and political representatives. This will be essential to ensure that any changes to health and social care services in the Southern area are sustainable and will improve health and social wellbeing for everyone. That is why we have invited you all here today to hear what changes are being planned locally across the Southern area and listen to your views on these,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Pamela McCreedy, Director of Transforming Your Care with the Board highlighted the reasons why change is so important:
“Since the Minister endorsed the TYC proposals in March 2013, following extensive consultation, we have started to see real, meaningful and positive change.
“Change is absolutely essential to ensuring we all have improved access to safe, and high quality health and social care in the future. With a growing and ageing population, a growth in chronic conditions and increased demand for and over reliance on hospital beds, leaving the system as it is, is simply not an option. That is why we need to continue to transform our services, ensuring we have an efficient, effective and integrated service which puts patients and service users at the very heart of care.”
Highlighting the key change areas planned across the five local council areas, Lyn Donnelly, Commissioning Lead with the Board explained:
“To respond to the strategic direction as set out in TYC, the Southern LCG has been working closely with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to develop our Population Plan. This plan sets out the changes that we believe are required locally to meet the recommendations within TYC.
“We have identified four key areas where we needed to see change in the way we currently commission and deliver our local health and social care services (i) promoting early intervention, prevention and ‘wellness’; (ii) enabling choice, independence and care within the local community (iii) primary, hospital and community care working more closely together and (iv) optimising our hospital network.
“We have now three integrated care partnerships established in the Southern LCG locality which bring together GPs, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, hospital specialists, other healthcare professionals and the voluntary and community sectors, as well as service users and carers, to design and coordinate local health and social care services – thus providing more care outside of hospitals.
“Work has also been progressing on new primary and community care hubs in Banbridge and Newry which will provide a range of services locally that currently require a hospital visit such as outpatient assessments for long term condition clinics, minor surgery and diagnostics (such as x-ray and ultrasound). We are also planning to develop other such centres across the locality in the future,” she said.
Also presenting was Paula Clarke, Director of Performance and Service Reform in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, who highlighted the potential areas of service change in the Trust’s area:
“To deliver on the vision for services outlined in TYC in practice locally will potentially mean changes for where and how we provide some services now.
“Some of the main areas of service we are considering include how we provide care for people having a stroke and how we can best deliver care for older people who need consultant led medical care in a hospital. The core aim of these reviews is to ensure we can provide services that are able to achieve the best outcomes for every individual needing this type of specialist care. This means being able to have access to skilled staff and the right facilities, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and evidence indicates that this can often be best achieved by concentrating these resources in one or very few places. For example, currently Daisy Hill Hospital is the local centre for renal care and Craigavon Area Hospital is the local centre for cancer and acute mental health care. It is essential that in considering these options for the future delivery of services that we hear what local people think at events like this and through more formal public consultation in 2014.”
Following the presentations, those attending had the opportunity to discuss the planned proposals at themed tables and also to ask questions on specific areas of interest such as; older people’s services; learning and physical disabilities; acute hospital services and mental health.
The meeting was well attending by service users, carers, parents, trade unions as well as local political, community and voluntary representatives from across all five council areas.
For more information on Transforming Your Care or to download a copy of the Population Plan outlining key changes planned for the Southern area, log on to www.transformingyourcare.hscni.net