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“No quick fix” - Health Minister speaks out on pressures across health service in NI



Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon (5 October) as the province's health and social care system continues to struggle with unrelenting pressures and demand.


Minister Swann said:


“I am keenly aware of the pressures being felt in our hospitals and across the entire health and social care system.


“Pressures that were previously felt during winter peaks are now a recurring theme throughout the year.



“This is not a problem that is unique to Northern Ireland. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged health systems that were already struggling under the weight of demographic change, budgetary limitations and staffing challenges.


“The whole of health and social care is focused on increasing levels of activity after the pandemic to meet a greater proportion of the health and social care needs of the population.


“A key part of that is to mitigate the expected severe pressures over the winter period by mobilising available capacity across health and social care. I have already announced steps to stabilise primary care ahead of the winter pressures and will set out the overall plan in the near future.



“It is important to be honest with the public – these problems are long-standing and there is no quick fix.


“We can all do our bit to help. I would appeal to everyone to please use services appropriately. Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccination jabs if you are eligible and co-operate with hospital discharge processes to help free up beds for others. Please support our great staff in every way you can.


“The longer term challenge, as we all know, is to significantly increase capacity in the system though investment in people and technology and changing the way we deliver key services.



“That task is certainly not helped by the continuing absence of a Northern Ireland budget and the significant projected overspend facing my Department.


“In a written statement to the Assembly in July, I said: “Not long ago, patients and staff in Northern Ireland had the promise of a multi-year budget, with the potential for longer term planning and sustained investment. As things stand at present, we have no budget at all. Prolonging this state of affairs would be tantamount to sabotaging the rebuilding of our health service.”


“Unfortunately, that state of affairs has very much continued.”




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