04/02/2009

NI Health Care Provision 'Shrinks'

The long-awaited reorganisation of health and social care provision has today moved a step ahead with details published of the new organisations.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has confirmed the names by which the slimmed-down list of bodies will be known.

Also launching their new corporate logos, he said the organisations will be known as the Health and Social Care Board; Public Health Agency; Business Services Organisation and the Patient and Client Council.

He said: "This is a major step in their establishment and their identities follow that of the Health and Social Care Trusts that were established in April 2007.

"It means our new streamlined service will have one single identity, fully underpinning our joined up approach and making us more identifiable as a 'family' to the general public," he explained.
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The overall reduction in the number of organisations means many changes with the new, single Health and Social Care Board for Northern Ireland replacing the existing four Health and Social Services Boards being the biggest one.

The Public Health Agency will incorporate and build on the work of the Health Promotion Agency but will have much wider responsibility for health protection, health improvement and development to address existing health inequalities and public health issues for all the people of Northern Ireland.

The Business Services Organisation will provide a range of support functions for the whole of health and social care system.

The Central Services Agency will be dissolved and the majority of its services will be undertaken by the new organisation while the single Patient and Client Council will replace the current Health and Social Services Councils with five local offices operating in the same geographical areas as the existing Trusts, to provide a strong voice for patients, clients and carers.

Following Royal Assent of the Reform Bill on 21 January, the organisations remain on schedule to be established on 1 April.

(BMcC/JM)

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