The time for change in health and social care in Northern Ireland is now

Today (Thursday) the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Services (NICON) is meeting in conference at the La Mon Hotel.

Guests include Liam Donaldson, whose recent report on patient safety raised major issues of concern about acute care and the Transforming Your Care initiative.

The agenda appears to be about ‘reform’ and ‘culture change’. But the real agenda is about finally owning up to the desperate state to which our Health and Social Care system has been reduced.

UNISON’s Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said: “UNISON will be speaking out for the radical reform that we all know is needed.

“Our key principles for change remain:

  • The removal of health inequalities which are seriously worse now than 20 years ago
  • The end of toxic financial austerity which is putting patient and client care at risk
  • The inclusion of our 30,000 members in Health and Social Care in change discussions and debate. Currently they are being excluded.

“We have crucial ‘red lines’ which will form the basis of all our interventions with political parties, employers and their representative bodies:

  • The end of the damaging commissioner/provider split and the end of ‘commissioning’
  • Single point accountability and leadership to replace the culture of no one being responsible
  • Transparent and increased funding to meet needs
  • No outsourcing or privatisation in any form, and the return of wrongly privatised work in-house
  • No charging for services, all to remain free at the point of use
  • No manipulation of targets to conceal realities on the ground.”