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NHS Services in Northern Ireland

Integrated Care Partnerships Update

Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) were one of 99 recommendations in the Transforming Your Care report and 17 have been created during 2013 to cover the Northern Ireland population. Each will link to a Local Commissioning Group.

The ICP will be supported in their work by a Business and Clinical Support Team. There are opportunities for one service user and one carer representative to join their local ICP with nominations currently sought by the Health and Social Care Board.

Anyone interested should indicate to or phone him on 028 90 553 782 by 22nd August 2013.

There are also opportunities to self-nominate separately to a Diabetes Working Group linked to each ICP which expect to start meeting from September 2013.

Diabetes UK would encourage people with diabetes and carers to nominate themselves to ICPs and the 17 Diabetes Working Groups in their area.

For more detailed information view the attached guide which includes a map of local areas covered, a Guide to ICPs and their Terms of Reference documents.

Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Review

In December 2012 John Compton, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board presented the Health and Social Care Review which had been requested by the Health Minister, Edwin Poots MLA.  The detailed report outlines changes to the way health and social care is delivered in Northern Ireland and these changes will impact on people living with diabetes.

Among the changes is a move away from hospital clinics to dedicated community-based clinics which would see a number of patients stop travelling to hospitals.  There is also going to be an increased role for the community pharmacist and an increase in the number of Diabetes Specialist Nurses.  More emphasis is placed on effective self-management with rapid access to tests, treatment and surgery.

These are just a few of the changes that will apply - the full report is to the right and can be downloaded in full.

NHS Services in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland new health structures have come into being since 1st April 2009.  Below is a list of the main organisations responsibile for delivering healthcare services in Northern Ireland.

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)

Nearly all aspects of healthcare in Northern Ireland are delivered by the Northern Ireland Assembly, specifically the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety led by the Minister, Edwin Poots MLA.  The Department is answerable to the members of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs) and scrutinised by the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.  Members of the Committee can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.

Health and Social Care Board

There is now just one Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland and it is responsible for working with the Trusts to ensure needs are being met.  The Board decides how the annual health budget is deployed and ensures services provided are safe and sustainable.

5 Health and Social Care Trusts

The five health Trusts are responsible for the provision and delivery of services in their local area which includes the running of hospitals.  The areas are;

  • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
  • South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Western Health and Social Care Trust

The NI Ambulance Services is also described as a Trust.

Five Local Commissioning Groups (LCGs)

There are five local commissioning groups in Northern Ireland which work alongside each Trust.  The Groups are responsible for commissioning services in their local areas, taking into account their local area needs.  The LCG's are made up of healthcare professionals and local political representatives.

Public Health Agency (PHA)

The PHA is tasked with protecting public health, improve the health and social wellbeing of people in Northern Ireland and reduce inequalities that impact on people's health.

The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme

Everyone with diabetes over the age of 12 should have their eyes screened for signs of retinopathy on an annual basis.  The screening is organised by the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme in partnership with your GP and it is essential that you attend.

Although screening is offered by some opticians, if there is an issue, it is the Retinopathy Screening Programme that will refer you for treatment so it is wiser to attend their screening.

Patient Client Council 

The Health and Social Services Councils have been replaced by the Patient Client Council which will have 5 offices in the same geographical area as the 5 Trusts to provide a strong voice for patients, clients and carers

Are you getting the healthcare you deserve?

Recent figures show people with diabetes are not always getting essential checks which will help them to manage their diabetes and prevent serious complications.

With the Health Service struggling with cuts and decreased budgets it is now more important than ever that we campaign at local level to make sure that the services needed for people with diabetes are provided.

Diabetes UK is calling on people with diabetes to let them know about the gaps in care where they live by filling in an online survey at

For further information on how to get more involved, please contact Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.

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