Health Minister Robin Swann has stressed the need to ensure that inequality issues for service users across Northern Ireland are addressed and there is regional consistency across all HSC Trusts.

He was speaking following the publication today of an Analysis of Responses Report entitled ‘Continuing Healthcare in Northern Ireland: Introducing a Transparent and Fair System.’

The Minister said: “The report draws on the responses to the 2017 public consultation process which followed a comprehensive review to provide clarity and address confusion about healthcare practice across Northern Ireland.

“Continuing healthcare relates to the current practice of assessing whether a person’s needs are primarily health care related or primarily social care related.  This assessment can have an impact on whether a person is required to make a contribution to the cost of their care.

“The preferred option which has emerged is to introduce a single eligibility criteria question ‘can your care needs be properly met in any other setting other than a hospital?’

My Department will now commence a process along with key stakeholders across the HSC to implement the preferred option and develop associated guidance.

“I am confident that this option will provide a clear and easily understood test and will ensure a consistent and standardised approach in continuing healthcare outcomes across Northern Ireland. 

“The key aim for everyone that does not need to be in hospital for a longer period of time is to get them well enough to return to whatever setting is most suitable for them in the community while ensuring that their health and social care needs are supported.”


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