First meeting for new council health group

First meeting for new council health group

8 November 2017

AN inaugural meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s new health working group has taken place in Downpatrick.

Last week, senior officials from the South Eastern and Southern health trusts joined colleagues from the Ambulance Service and Public Health Agency for a meeting with local politicians at the local authority’s administrative headquarters at the Downshire Civic Centre to discuss a range of issues.

Council officials insist the aim of the joint meetings is to ensure a strategic and co-operative approach to community planning on health and social care issues across its area.

Issues discussed last week included tackling health inequalities, services at the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals, dealing with workforce issues and increased provision for services at home and in the community.  

Council chairwoman, Roisin Mulgrew, described the meeting as “productive and informative” explaining recent strategic reviews on health and social care have highlighted the need to transform the way in which health and social care is delivered.

She continued: “This is all about collaboration and working together to create a better relationship through strategic community planning that will ultimately ensure better health outcomes for the whole community.

“I welcome the very open and proactive approach from the health trusts and other bodies involved and hope this marks the beginning of a very constructive working relationship that will benefit all of our citizens.” 

Seamus McGoran, the South Eastern Trust’s Director of Hospital Services, also described last week’s meeting as “constructive” and said the organisation looks forward to working further with the local authority and other partners as part of delivering the area’s community plan to “improve the health and wellbeing of the local population and to address health inequalities.”

Ambulance Service chief executive, Shane Devlin, highlighted the importance of last week’s meeting and said he was delighted to take part in such a collaborative forum. 

He added: “The potential of all parts of the health and social care family working closely with the local council to deliver to the wider aims of improving the health of the population cannot be underestimated. I look forward to participating in future meetings.”