Health Minister Michelle o’neill has published an Elective Care Plan to address waiting times for planned treatments, care and diagnostics.

Publishing the Plan follows through on the commitment in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering together’ which was launched in october, and firmly puts the focus on primary care as the solution to the waiting list issue.

the first stage of the plan requires a total of £31.2 million in 2017/18 to fund additional activity to clear, by March 2018, the backlog of patients waiting more than 52 weeks for a first outpatient appointment and inpatient/daycase at March 2017.

the Plan has six commitments which encompass a number of actions designed to reform elective care services to meet current and future demand. one key commitment is to provide assessment, treatment and care to reduce the waiting lists backlog, while continuing the longer term process to transform secondary, primary and community care services.

‘there is no point continually doing more of the same in delivering elective care to outpatients,’ the Health Minister said. ‘frontline staff in the HSC are working harder than ever, but we are still not meeting the demand for services. We need to do it better, smarter, and in a way that will be sustainable.

‘this Elective Care Plan is one of the first products to come out of 'Delivering together' but it is not a stand-alone initiative, nor is it a plan set in stone. Its strategic commitments and actions must be seen within the broader context of my transformation programme and be taken forward alongside all of the other priorities identified if sustainable improvement is to be realised.’



Bannside Pharmacy in Portglenone – and owner, Pharmacy in focus award winner Eoghan o’Brien – have met the challenges faced by 21st- century pharmacy and given the pharmacy a ‘facelift’!

‘As with most community pharmacists,’ Eoghan told Pif, ‘there has been an overwhelming increase in the dispensary workflow. As a result, most pharmacists who are doing fit-outs, are trying to find dispensing space.

‘this is the first fit-out we’ve done in 19 years and was primarily motivated by our need to accommodate a doubling in our prescribing volume.

The pharmacy’s new dispensary which will service the increase in workflow

The increased complementary health section will keep Bannside’s patients happy!

While that was what essentially kickstarted our move, we also needed more countertop space as the MDS trays take up a lot of space and so we opted for fAMA shelving, which provides us with a flexible, pull-out drawer system, which not only holds more stock, but also helps us to rotate stock more easily since the newer stock is retained at the back.

‘Another part of the fit-out saw the removal of the big bay of shelves in the dispensary, which was acting as a

‘blind spot’, restricting our view of patients coming into the pharmacy.

‘the final part of the fit-out saw the expansion of both the complementary natural remedy section, in which we have experienced a major growth, and in our perfume counter, which has witnessed similar growth. overall, I would say that our patients will be delighted at the increased stock levels of complementary health products and in the more flexible movement around the pharmacy in general.’


Queen’s University experts have joined with leading academics from across the UK to explore the risks facing cancer care, treatment and research in a post-Brexit world.

the editorial, published in the journal ecancermedicalscience, has been written by six doctors – including Queen’s University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston and Professor Mark lawler - who represent cancer physicians, patient advocacy groups and genomics research.

‘Research is no longer an ivory tower silo-type pursuit,’ said Professor lawler, Chair of translational Cancer genomics, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast, and one of the lead authors, ‘- collaboration is the key.

UK scientists contribute enormously to the European research effort while having scientists from different countries within our research institutions and hospitals greatly supports our battle against cancer.

‘[the group] have previously expressed lack of confidence that if [EU regulations] were lost as a result of leaving they may not be replaced by UK government.

‘this particularly affects manufacturers of medical devices and tests unless the EU and the UK are able to share regulatory frameworks to allow ready import and export of such devices/tests.’

the editorial also highlights the key issue of how sensitive patient data is handled between the EU and the UK.

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