Northern Ireland

Bengoa analysis: Now is the time for action

Word cloud of the 87-page Bengoa report Image copyright Wordcloud
Image caption Word cloud of the 87-page Bengoa report

Not one but indeed two reports have made a compelling case for changing how health and social care services are delivered in Northern Ireland.

In stark language the health minister said the system is at breaking point and that it is not sustainable.

The former health minister of the Basque country, Professor Raphael Bengoa, said that Northern Ireland is more than capable of delivering.

He said we should be leading the way in delivering first class health care.

Considering Professor Bengoa's world wide status there is little need for any more reports. What is required now is action.

Professor Bengoa also called for political maturity. He said that is paramount for the Minister's plan to work.


It may be a 10-year vision but short-term fixes in the past have failed.

The £40m announced in November 2015 to fix waiting lists clearly did not work.

The system could not deliver on time and most of the money was redirected into other areas.

That is because the system could not cope. There were too few staff, hospital beds and even operating theatres.

'Not later but now'

Such a huge problem cannot be fixed overnight. It will take time. But for some patients, time is not an option.

To get the public on board, and to show goodwill, the minister might have to tackle the current waiting list problem - not later, but now.

Such a move will also establish her as being in control.

An ancient Chinese saying goes: "Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. "

For Michelle O'Neill that step was getting the executive's support - but now the rest has to follow.

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