Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 17:37 UK

Health Committee

Health Minister Edwin Poots said there would be a "meaningful and comprehensive" consultation on health reform proposals, on 4 July 2012.

Mr Poots was giving the health committee an update on the "Transforming Your Care" (TYC) health review.

The minister said the review had been a response to the need for major and overdue reform in the health service.

The most recent development had been the publication of five draft population plans and a over-arching strategic implementation plan.

The minister said that under the projected reforms "the role of some hospitals would be expected to change".

He expressed satisfaction that progress on the reforms was in line with the timelines in TYC.

Committee chairwoman Sue Ramsey of Sinn Fein wanted to know about the role of local health economy groups in drawing up the population plans.

John Compton of the Health and Social Care Board explained that the groups were made up of interest groups, including health trust representatives and GPs, and were "nothing more than a vehicle" for the drawing-up of the plans.

"Every time you come to this committee I leave more confused than when I came in," Ms Ramsey observed.

The DUP's Jim Wells was concerned that he had not had more correspondence from the public about TYC, and had more correspondence about dog fouling than about the Compton Report.

"Folk aren't really engaging because we haven't put names to services yet," he commented.

In response to a question about the Causeway and Antrim Area Hospitals, Mr Compton said there was, "a very positive future for the two facilities".

The committee also held an evidence session on health inequalities.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, briefed members on the new public health strategy "Fit and Well: Changing Lives".

Dr McBride said the general improvement in health outcomes was not reflected evenly across the community.

The situation was generally worse in in deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

The indicators included figures for life expectancy, drink and drug-related illnesses, suicide, and teenage pregnancy.

Health committee membership


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