Reorganisation of social services in Northern Ireland must
incorporate greater front line integration of health and social
care, a review of service provision says.
The review, commissioned by the Northern Ireland health minister
Bairbre de Brun, says: “The integration of health and social
services was seen by the vast majority of people we spoke to as a
strength. However, the need for further on-the-ground operational
integration was recognised as a key requirement for the delivery of
a truly seamless service.”
It proposes three health and social care systems – northern,
southern and greater Belfast – to replace the existing 18 health
trusts. Social services, primary care services and community
services will be an integral part of these.
“The establishment of three health and social care systems will
provide opportunities for staff from different professions, and
from primary care, s econdary care and social services, to work
together in multi-disciplinary teams delivering a seamless service
to patients,” the review states.
A Northern Ireland strategic health and social services
authority would also be established to replace the four health
boards. The strategic authority would have no operational role in
relation to service delivery, but would be the place where those
commissioning services and those providing services come
A single statutory consumer body would be set up to monitor the
three health and social services systems and the strategic health
authority and ensure the views of patients and social services
users are central to policy development and practice.