Meeting of Wednesday 27 February 2019. Speaker Mr Aiden Bunting. Topic “The Health Service”
In a wide-ranging presentation, Mr Bunting spoke about the range of services provided by the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland including Health Promotion, General Practice, Hospitals, Mental Health, and Family and Children’s Social Services. Over 55,00 persons are employed in the delivery of Health and Social Care, including doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, and support service such as physiotherapy, audiology, podiatry. The list also includes the ambulance service and those employed in the social, clerical and administrative services. Having outlined what the HSC is trying to achieve in terms of promoting good health and treating those who are ill, Mr Bunting turned his attention to the challenges facing HSC such the impact of an ageing population, waiting lists, staff shortages, and financial constraints. He then examined Disability and Mental Health Services showing how these contributed to Western HSC Trust expenditure of £704m pa. One of the many statistics provided is that in a typical year the Western Trust carries out over 250,000 X-Rays, CT Scans and Ultrasounds and that the Ambulance service has over 58,000 call-outs. Following Mr Bunting’s presentation, members were keen to engage in discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the Health Service, while praising the hard work and dedication of those who whose up-hill task it is to keep the population fit and well.