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NICHS welcomes Minister Swann to the Health Ministry.

05 Feb 2024

Whilst broadly welcoming the return of the Stormont Assembly and Executive, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) today would like to congratulate and welcome Mr Robin Swan MLA back to his role as Health Minister.

Minister Swann was, rightly, applauded for his nonpartisan leadership of the health service during the recent pandemic and whilst we acknowledge this positive contribution, as we stated last week, we cannot divert from the huge issues currently facing our local health service.

Eugene Reid, Policy and Engagement Officer at NICHS stated, “Mr Swann’s in-tray is full to overflowing. The Bengoa Report a 10-year plan to reform Northern Ireland’s health service and make it fit for the future is now 8 years old and has largely been unimplemented. Healthcare staff have been on picket lines in recent weeks asking for pay parity with their colleagues across England and Wales. Our waiting lists are the worst on these islands and continue to lengthen. One major area we at NICHS have been advocating for, is stroke reform. We wish to see Hyper Acute Stroke Units developed. There has been little to no progress with these.

Eugene continues “We at NICHS are about to launch our Cardiac Manifesto, which will highlight the burden of the disease here and some of the shortcomings regarding the services available to those suffering with Cardiac Illnesses. A key part of our Manifesto asks, will be for policy makers and legislators to step up to the mark and put in place plans to address these shortcomings particularly with allocation of resources for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Heart Failure services to name a few.

Mr Swann has made a swift and positive start to his tenure by inviting union representatives for talks to address the pay inequality. We wish him every success is his negotiations for a positive outcome.

He has an onerous task ahead of him, but he must be given the cross-party support and the resources to make tough decisions that will make our health service fit for the 21st Century.

We look forward to engaging with the Minister and supporting him to deliver an excellent health service for all our citizens. We wish him the best of luck going forward.