Lisburn’s John Compton, newly retired Health and Social Care Board Chief, has spoken with pride of health service staff and achievements but insisted that, with mounting pressures, change wasn’t so much an option as a necessity.
“Very often,” he said, “health and social care hits the headlines for the wrong reasons. With over 100,000 people using health and social care services every day, we won’t always get it right, and when we don’t, we have a duty to learn from any mistakes.
“Each day around £10m is spent on health and social care in Northern Ireland and for the 2% that occasionally goes wrong, 98% goes well. Frequently, I hear many stories from patients who have had a very positive, caring experience. It is really important that this is also recognised and that the public has confidence in health and social care services.”
Mr Compton said changes being made under Transforming Your Care were continuing to have a major impact on people’s lives and there was much to be proud of.
“Whilst that is to be welcomed,” he said, “we know that with an ageing population, increasing demands, and decreasing budgets, change isn’t just an option; it is an absolute necessity.”
The former health chief said the entire system would not be sustainable in the future if the changes did not continue.
“We will continue to experience pressures throughout all services, many of which emanate at the front door of Emergency Departments, even though the root causes often lie elsewhere,” he said.
Mr Compton insisted too that there had to be wider debate about what the public needed and expected from their national health and social care service.