Is Healthcare reform an unsquareable circle?

Two News Letter articles at the end of last week demonstrated the nigh on impossibility of solving the health services problems in Northern Ireland.  On the 14th February the new chief executive of the Health and Social Care Board Valerie Watts in response to the question “if people could expect to see smaller hospitals closing, with fewer but bigger hospitals remaining”. Ms. Watts replied: “That is my vision, yes, because that is the safest thing for Northern Ireland to have.” The same day there was a … Read more

Is it time for more ‘Open Government’ in NI’s sluggish healthcare reform?

Korhomme asks some good questions in the wake of what is something like the seventh review to suggest that Northern Ireland has too many acute hospitals. Liam Donaldson’s report usefully points up some key reasons for the delay in action not least the pressure from a public wary of losing health provision and its local economic impact, and lack of leadership (the CMO in NI double jobs as the boss of the Belfast Trust). But his focus on hospital re-organisation probably … Read more

Donaldson in review

It is a pity that coverage of the Donaldson review has focussed on his comments on the number of hospitals in Northern Ireland relative to its population.  It is true that he remarks on this, but his report is a lot broader than considering whether skills are being spread too thinly across too many hospitals – something korhomme discusses here, and I comment on briefly with regard to locations. What stands out is that Sir Liam considers the Northern Ireland … Read more

Does Northern Ireland have too many hospitals?

A recent report into health services in N Ireland has said that there are ‘too many hospitals’. The report also has a lot to say about the organisational structure of the NHS here. This isn’t the first time that hospital provision here has been questioned; decades ago, an MP in the old Stormont described N Ireland as having a hospital at every bus stop. So how many acute district hospitals (DGH) would be appropriate? It’s easy enough to calculate a … Read more