Michelle O’Neill: I made clear that I want NHS reform

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Ms Bradshaw (June 8) should have been listening fully to my statement, as I said “my policy will be to adopt a balanced approach to taking further short-term action combined with longer-term change”.

Whilst explaining the short-term measures needed to address waiting lists I made it clear that short-term initiatives alone will not be good enough for me and that “I am determined ... to transform the way in which we deliver health and social care services”.

I highlighted the need for change and transformation of primary and secondary care working better together; collaboration through integrated care partnerships and the development of an elective care plan. I also said I eagerly await the anticipated report from Professor Bengoa and his expert panel, which holds the prospect of finding new innovative ways to deliver a sustainable health service with better outcomes for patients.

I make no apology for seeking to reduce waiting times for our patients through the use of short-term measures but I made it very clear that in the longer-term I want to see radical reform in the Health Service where we deliver the maximum benefit for patients, a point which I reiterated again in Tuesday’s Assembly debate. In that debate I invited MLAs to come forward and talk to me if they had ideas for improving waiting times. To me, this represents a more productive way of working than voicing opposition via the media.

Michelle O’Neill, MLA, Health Minister