Services shake-up for Northern Ireland

The health minister for Northern Ireland has promised major reform of the country’s “outdated” mental health and learning difficulties services.

Paul Goggins made the comments after the publication of a four-year review of the services which called on the government to double funding over the next 20 years.

The minister said he was setting up a cross-government task force to tackle problems including an overreliance on hospital care and a need to reduce dependency on medication and improve counselling.

He has also created a new directorship for mental health and learning difficulty, for which the department is now recruiting.

Goggins said: “I want mental health and learning disability to move to the top table of the health service. We need someone to champion its cause.”

The director will advise ministers across all departments.

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