Larne public urged: Have your say on future NHS provision

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LARNE people have been urged to join in the debate about the future of health and social care services in Northern Ireland.

Major plans to set the direction of health and social care in Northern Ireland were issued for public consultation by Health and Social Care Minister, Edwin Poots on October 9 and public meetings were held in a number of locations and the consultation process continues until January 15.

Dr Brian Hunter, chair of the Northern Local Commissioning Group, explained: “Transforming Your Care: Vision to Action is a consultation document summarising the changes proposed to our health and social care system.

“In order to make best use of all available resources the proposals focus on reshaping services ensuring that they are safe, resilient and sustainable into the future.”

He added that meetings hosted by the group in Coleraine, Newtownabbey, Magherafelt and Ballycastle were attended by many service users, carers, staff, union, community, voluntary and elected representatives.

“A wide range of issues were discussed and views were shared on the provision of health care services including respite care; residential and nursing care; learning disability and mental health services; carers’ support; integrated care partnerships and staffing pressures, said Dr Hunter, adding: “At this point, no decisions have been made. The consultation process is still continuing and I would encourage everyone to get involved in the debate and have your views heard before the consultation ends.”

To participate in the consultation, log on to the consultation website at www.tycconsultation.hscni.net and complete the online questionnaire or telephone (028) 9055 3970 to find out more about the process.

The local commissioning group can also be contacted through Facebook at facebook.com/tycconsultation or on twitter @tycconsultation

Meanwhile, MLA Oliver McMullan has urged everyone to make their views known on health and social care reform.

The East Antrim Sinn Fein representative described the proposals in Transforming Your Care as ushering in “probably the biggest changes to the National Health Service since it began”.

He added: “Every person in the community will be affected by the proposals for accident and emergency, acute care, ambulance call-out times and a whole raft of services including the possible closure of every NHS residential home in the Northern Trust area and greater emphasis on care in the community.

“I would urge everybody to respond the document and make their views known to the minister and if anybody wants to contact me about it I will be only to happy to meet with them.”