Health Minister visits Cancer Centre and Hemsworth Court


Last week during a visit to Belfast Trust Health Minister Simon Hamilton took the opportunity to make a keynote address outlining his vision for the future provision of health and social care in Northern Ireland. “A growing and ageing population, a rise in chronic conditions, unhealthy lifestyles, technological advances and scarce resources is a heady cocktail that no health service has truly got to grips with yet. The challenge can sometimes seem insurmountable. Yet, in spite of the difficulties we face, I remain optimistic about the future of health and social care in Northern Ireland."

“In areas like the excellent work done in this Cancer Centre, in coronary care and in connected health, we can truly say that Northern Ireland is at the cutting edge of healthcare. But equally we cannot take our successes for granted or presume that because we excel in certain areas today, that will always be the case.”

Pictured: Health Minister Simon Hamilton chats with Dr Mark Grattan Medical Physicist at the Belfast Trust and Professor Joe O'Sullivan Clinical Director for Oncology at the Cancer Centre Belfast Trust. The Minister was visting the centre to make a keynote address on his vision for the Health Service

The Minister warned that decline is a distinct possibility, not because of any lack of commitment from staff or because of insufficient resources, but rather because of a resistance to change. “But I don't believe that people aren't willing or able to embrace change, especially when there are examples of where change has been for the better and the people of Northern Ireland have been the beneficiaries, such as the Cancer Centre at the Belfast Trust.” To read the Minister’s keynote address in full click here

Minister Hamilton toured the Cancer Centre meeting staff and patients before travelling to Hemsworth Court, a specialist facility running in partnership with Helm Housing and enabling people with dementia to continue living in the community.

Supported housing models provide real opportunities for people with dementia to live meaningful, active lives in the community. This “Rights” based model focuses on an individual’s right to autonomy and choice, empowerment, social inclusion and genuine involvement in all decisions affecting them, and demonstrates on a number of levels how people can live positively with dementia.

Minister Hamilton said “Enabling people to live well with dementia is one of the greatest challenges that hemsworthvisitmay2015.jpgwe face in health and social care at present and into the future. It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this number is expected to rise to 60,000 over the next 30 years.

“I am encouraged by the achievements to date. Diagnosis rates here are among the best in the UK and the roll out of memory clinics across the five Trusts has contributed significantly to the delivery of better care, support, and information to people with dementia and their carers.”