Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland should be universal and free at the point of use. This is essential in order to secure a fair and equal society; but it is also important for our economy that people are as healthy and active as possible. Some key values underline Alliance's approach to the health service. Respect for individuals and their dignity is essential, so services should be patient-centred and flexible enough to meet everyone's demands.
Our proposals to improve the health service in Northern Ireland include:
- Targeting resources at public health issues to make sure people are fitter and healthier to begin with. Addressing issues which stop physical illness from arising in the first place; such as obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse will be a priority.
- Ensuring that mental health and well-being is at the heart of the health service, adequately funded, with anti-stigma campaigns, full and adequately resourced implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016 and further investment in psychological therapy.
- Focussing on patient need, rather than artificial targets, to ensure that healthcare, such as Emergency Departments, are provided to the people who need it the most.
- Placing the individual at the heart of social care by giving users control over their health and social care needs, and by exploring options for free social care. This will be especially important as society becomes older.