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Elective Care Framework establishes useful principles but lacks detail and ambition, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the content of the Elective Care Framework announced in the Assembly, but has cautioned there are major omissions which means it lacks detail and ambition.

Health Minister Robin Swann said the £700 million plan would aim to have targeted investment and reform to ensure backlogs do not keep re-occurring.

“Alliance is fully supportive of the direction of travel towards regional specialist centres, rapid diagnostic centres and maximising capacity through use of the independent sector across the island of Ireland. It is essential all parties state their clear support for these principles, and for the funding required,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“Where the Framework is lacking, as the Minister to some extent accepted with regard to the lack of detail around potential rapid diagnostic centres, is in the detail particularly with regards to how rare conditions such as ME will be supported and to how those centres will be staffed to ensure expertise is available to deliver quick diagnosis and early intervention. We also need to hear about how services which are obviously time-dependent, such as IVF, will be fully restored.

“It is also unclear how the Framework will connect with Trusts’ rebuilding plans and with plans in the implementation of the Bengoa recommendations around primary care hubs, as well as with longer term early interventions aimed at prevention. It is essential transformation of health and care is seen as a true and overall reform rather than a series of separate projects.

“The Minister has set out a useful guide on the way forward on waiting lists in this Framework, but more detail and more ambition to connect it to a true transformation that will deliver improvement across all of health and social care is still needed.”