Troubled N Ireland Health Trust Has Special measures Introduced

Health Minister Edwin Poots today met the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and informed them of his intention to introduce special measures for the Trust to ensure improvement in quality of service it provides.
~ Thursday, 5 April 2012

Speaking after a lengthy meeting in Castle Buildings Mr Poots said: “I have had an open and frank discussion with the Belfast Trust on a number of issues that have arisen since I came to office. While I recognise that the majority of services are of high quality, there are areas where I have serious concerns. These are issues which have severely tested the Trust – including its handling of the Pseudomonas outbreak and challenges faced recently by the emergency department at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“I have expressed my deep disappointment to the Trust and informed them that I fully expect that these measures must bring about an improvement. It is important the Belfast Trust has my full confidence and that of the public. I have put the Trust into special measures because I believe it is in the interests of the Health and Social Care service to do so.”

The measures will mean that there will be enhanced oversight arrangements between the DHSSPS and the Belfast Trust to focus on areas of concern where the Minister wants to see improvements. This will include quality of service provision and patient experience. The Minister said he wanted to be assured that quality of service provided by the Trust is to an acceptable standard for all those who rely on the Health Service here.

He said: “These special measures will include an increase in the frequency of governance and accountability meetings between my Department and the Belfast Trust. The Trust will be asked to draw up an action plan specifically focussed on those areas where I have been concerned, and I will expect the Trust to report on progress against this plan regularly to my Department. This will include the implementation of recommendations emanating from the interim report of the Independent Review of Incidents of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Neonatal units in Northern Ireland.”

These special measures will be put into place with immediate effect and will be kept under review by me in the coming months.

“I will consider what further action may be necessary if no improvement is evident,” he added.

The Minister concluded: “Through my time as Health Minister I have heard nothing but praise for the frontline staff in all the Trusts and I would like to emphasise that I have nothing but admiration for the work they do, sometime in difficult circumstances. I am confident they will continue to provide excellent care to those who need it most.”

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