Northern Ireland’s health minister has underlined plans to further explore “all-island” services at an event, which brought together nurses and midwives from both jurisdictions.
At this year’s joint all-Ireland chief nursing officers’ conference, held yesterday in Dublin, Michelle O’Neill commended staff from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for their dedication to patients and their efforts to improve care.
“I want to continue to explore where all-island services can be developed to bring mutual benefit for patients”
She referred to the importance of sharing experiences among the profession and highlighted partnership working as a key part of plans to transform the way care was delivered over the next decade.
Ms O’Neill pointed to previous successes where services had been delivered for the benefit of patients across the entire island, encompassing both the countries of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
She referred to a new all-island congenital cardiac service and also the recent opening of the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin hospital in County Londonderry, which both take patients from either sides of the border.
“I want you, the nursing and midwifery leaders, to be in a position to grasp the transformational agenda coming from my vision to reform health and social care over the next 10 years within the north of Ireland,” Ms O’Neill told the conference.
“One of the central elements to this change is partnership working. I have committed to the appointment of a nursing and midwifery task group to report on how we can maximise the contribution the nursing and midwifery professions to make improved outcomes for the population in terms of this vision,” she said.
“I want you, the nursing and midwifery leaders, to be in a position to grasp the transformational agenda”
Ms O’Neill said the task group would take a year to come up with recommendations and urged nurses and midwives to contribute ideas to its work, before underlining plans to explore further joint services.
“I want to continue to explore where all-island services can be developed to bring mutual benefit for patients in both north and south of the island, which includes working collaboratively on a range of issues,” she said.
“I recognise and commend our nursing staff within both jurisdictions, for their dedication to service users, carers and families and I want to thank them for their continued commitment to improve the effectiveness of the care that they deliver,” she added.
Named community nurses for Northern Irish practices
Commenting on the conference, CNO for Northern Ireland Charlotte McArdle, said “I am delighted to jointly host the third all-Ireland celebration of nursing and midwifery in Dublin.
“Collaboration, learning and improving services for patients, families and carers has never been more important, especially when we know both our health systems are experiencing increasing demands and pressure on front line nurses and midwives,” she said.