Press Release

“People must be given the opportunity to develop health and social services,” say Health Ministers

“People who use Health and Social Services must be given a genuine say in how services are developed”, Bairbre de Brún MLA, Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children said today (28 June, 2001).

Both Ministers were speaking at a conference in Dublin entitled ´Working Together for Better Health Services´, organised by the Health Services National Partnership Forum and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The aim of the conference is to look at how working in partnership could lead to improvements in health service provision and development.

“I look forward to receiving a report of the Conference and firm proposals for a North/South partnership approach aimed at enhancing the quality of our health services to the benefit of the people who deliver those services and the people who use those services”, Minister Martin said.

Stating her determination to engage the public in decisions about their own care, Minister de Brún said: “By involving our service users directly in assessing how well our services are responding to their requirements, we can develop services which best meet their needs, rather than services we think will meet their needs. I am committed to giving the public a real say in the planning, delivery and evaluation of services”.

To achieve this, will require us to:

  • listen to the views of the users of our services
  • work to ensure that quality underpins how we involve the public
  • ensure that individuals and communities are well informed about service developments, and
  • ensure that services are open and accountable.

Noting that a number of initiatives were already underway, the Minister said: “We have much to gain by working together throughout the island of Ireland to find ways of improving our services.”