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Let’s work together to tackle Covid impact

25 Aug 2020

“We are still working away supporting those with chest, heart and stroke conditions and ramping up our support for those who having to overcome the effects of the pandemic, but we urgently have to work more closely with the health service to ensure that we can continue to keep caring through COVID-19.”

That was the message from Declan Cunnane, the Chief Executive of local health charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS) who met the Health Minister, Robin Swann today.

“I was delighted to discuss with the Minister how organisations such as NICHS can work with the health service to ensure that patients get proper rehabilitation support in the community whether they are recovering from cardiac, stroke or respiratory problems. Those needs are as great as ever if not greater”

NICHS and the Stroke Association met with the Minister today (Tuesday 25 August) to urge him to press ahead with reforming services stating that changes are long overdue, and that death and disability could be prevented by making these changes. Both organisations also asked the Minister to take the opportunity to re-examine how the charities are reimbursed for the services they provide to the health service.

“The current funding arrangements, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, are financially unsustainable. We need to be funded in similar fashion to the rest of the UK where charities are fully reimbursed for the services we provide to people in need.”

“If we are to continue to support our service users to keep well and manage their condition(s) we have to know that we have sufficient funds and, while the Northern Ireland public continues to be very generous, it is imperative that government responds more positively. If we fail to act the health service may struggle to cope as people with serious conditions will deteriorate because they didn’t get the help they need soon enough”

Declan Cunnane said that he had also raised with the Minister the charity’s new service which is aimed at helping those who have experienced COVID-19 recover from the illness.

“We have decided as a charity that we must help people in Northern Ireland who have had COVID-19 make as full a recovery as possible and I was delighted to discuss our plans with the Minister.”