28/02/2003

Browne outlines priorities for health service

The government has launched its 'Priorities for Action' document – a "rigorous monitoring" of health service's goals and objectives for the coming year.

The document provides what the government describes as a "transparent agenda" of guidelines for targeting the resources that have been made available for health and social care in the budget.

NIO Health Minister Des Browne said: “The funding allocated to Boards and Trusts represents an increase of £217 million, or 13.5%, above this year’s provision. I am determined to see that, having made this financial commitment, we put the resources to the best possible use.

"The priorities and associated actions in ‘Priorities for Action’ provide a clear sense of what I, and the people of Northern Ireland, expect of the HPSS. Likewise, their achievement will play a key part in any assessment of HPSS performance in the coming year."

Among the planning goals are those dealing with the Investing for Health Strategy; the development and implementation of a new Regional Health and Wellbeing Strategy; new arrangements for Primary Care; and improved access to, and increased capacity in, hospital and community services.

Mr Browne said the priorities covered a range of services for "all sections of the community". He said that he wanted "to see improvements in the level, quality and delivery of services".

“The past few years have been difficult ones for the HPSS. People have however remained committed to its ideals and values, none more so than the dedicated workforce that has such a key role to play in delivering these priorities. I now expect the ‘Priorities for Action’ to demonstrate that the HPSS is doing better,” he said.

(GMcG)

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