Wot – no better quality Health Service for NI?

As far as I can make out, not a cheep from the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Dept, ( see recent press releases), in response to the big new drive for a higher quality health service in England unveiled yesterday.

For instance, one big aim is to speed the validation of new drugs and end the post code lottery for approving their use by NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Nice has applied to NI since 2006.

What’s happening about this, guys? Have you a cunning plan up your sleeves you haven’t told us about yet? Or is this another example of Executive inertia?

Are NI patients too to get the right to chose their own GP, consultant and hospital; benefit from the end of the post code lottery and be prescribed new drugs with less regard to cost ; and receive detailed reports on their medical condition – all as promised to the English? Wake up Michael McGimpsey and the scores of staff in Dundonald House. Or can I have missed some well-buried report?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London