On 25th October 2016 a landmark review was published about the integrated health and social care system in Northern Ireland.
It is not a comfortable read.
And the act of courage was the simultaneous publication of the document “Health and Well-being 2026” by Michelle O’Neill, the new Minister of Health.
The full document can be downloaded here.
It is courageous because it says, bluntly, that there is a burning platform, the level of service is not acceptable, doing nothing is not an option, and nothing short of a system-wide redesign will be required.
It is courageous because it sets a clear vision, a burning ambition, and is very clear that this will not be a quick fix. It is a ten year plan.
That implies a constancy of purpose will need to be maintained for at least a decade.
And it is courageous because it says that:
“we will have to learn how to do this“
Here is one paragraph that says that:
“Developing the science of improvement can be done at the same time as making improvements“
“We need an infrastructure that makes this possible.”
The good news is that this science of improvement in health care is already well advanced, and it will advance further: a whole health and social care system transformation-by-design is a challenge of some magnitude.
A health and social care system engineering (HSCSE) challenge.
One component of the ten year plan is to develop this capability through a process called co-production.
Notice that the design is centered on both the customer and the supplier, not just on the supplier.
And notice that the population served are also expected to be equal partners in the transformation-by-design process.
Courage, constancy of purpose and capability development … a very welcome breath of fresh air!