Siobhan Donald calls for cross-party consensus on health reform and implementing the recommendations of the Nursing Task Group
"The RCN welcomed the recent establishment of the Expert Panel led by Professor Rafael Bengoa and supports its intention to build consensus across all political parties in Northern Ireland for the reform and modernisation of health and social care, including the reconfiguration of services. The RCN has been engaging with the Expert Panel to ensure that nursing priorities are at the top of its agenda and that the nursing voice shapes the way forward.
"The outcomes of the Expert Panel will need to be reinforced by the establishment of a cross-party strategic group to deliver the agreed reform and modernisation process. Regardless of which party provides the Health Minister in the next Northern Ireland Executive, we need all our politicians to work together, alongside the communities they serve, to build a health and social care service that meets the needs of all the people of Northern Ireland.
"The RCN has welcomed the recent decision by the current Health Minister to establish a task group for nursing and midwifery, with an independent lay chair, to ensure that the workforce in Northern Ireland is equipped and supported to deliver the reform and modernisation agenda. The nursing profession is currently facing unprecedented pressure. An independently-chaired review group is urgently required. This provides an opportunity to ensure an approach that promotes health and well-being, identifies and embraces the nursing innovation and excellence that exists in Northern Ireland, and is informed by evidence of best practice here, across the UK and further afield.
"It is essential that our politicians support the work of this task group and ensure that its recommendations are implemented."