Bengoa still the answer: Middleton

By Gary Middleton MLA


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DUP Assembly candidate for Foyle Gary Middleton said:

“Our local NHS requires fundamental transformation, and until that happens we will continue to hear of unacceptable waits, tragic cases and failings, and a system continuing to deteriorate.

Rafael Bengoa was appointed, and his review established and initiated, by a DUP Health Minister. His Systems not Structures report needs to be implemented without further delay, and will require other parties stepping up to the mark. The report is the route to a better and sustainable service in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has a five-point plan to build a better Northern Ireland. We are proposing to extend and expand the Transformation Fund which originated from the DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement, and allocate it a further one quarter of a billion pounds over the course of the next Assembly term.

Our NHS was designed in a different era and we need a model today fit for the challenges of the 21st century. Frontline professionals see at first hand the need to do things differently, and they should be empowered to lead the change.

We established a cross-Departmental Covid Taskforce to fight the pandemic, and see the merit in a similar or repurposed Transformation Taskforce to oversee the delivery of the necessary reforms.

We must do things differently. We need a population model that focuses on prediction and prevention rather than reaction, with patients active participants in their care, and technology fully embraced across a genuinely integrated system.

There is reason for optimism too despite the difficulties and challenges. Much of the care in Northern Ireland is outstanding. We have a hugely skilled and dedicated workforce. With strong and effective leadership a fundamentally improved system is within our grasp, and as Sir Liam Donaldson has indicated: “the Northern Ireland health and social care service must not be satisfied with good enough..... With everyone working together it could be amongst the best in the world".

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