The programme to restructure the health and care system in the Island is raising its profile and moving forward with fresh impetus and clear key milestones.
The transformation team scaled back its public engagement work during the coronavirus pandemic, as Government focused resources on the Covid-19 response.
However, during that time significant progress has been made by the team towards the programme’s objective: to take a unique opportunity to redesign integrated, high quality, person-centred health and care services which will be sustainable in the long-term.
Work began in earnest last year to establish Manx Care, a new stand-alone health and care delivery body, separate from the Department of Health and Social Care which will be responsible for wider policy and strategy. The creation of Manx Care is the cornerstone recommendation of Sir Jonathan Michael’s landmark report, and a public consultation inviting feedback on legislation to establish the body was underway before the pandemic began.
Work to establish Manx Care will be more visible from this month, with the introduction of the Manx Care Bill to the House of Keys at the start of its parliamentary journey. This is a significant step towards creating an entirely new statutory health and care organisation in the Isle of Man, responsible for all service delivery.
In addition, recruitment has begun for an independent non-executive chair for Manx Care, a challenging role in which the successful candidate will be tasked with ensuring transformed health and social care services are delivered for the people of the Island. It is the first in a series of important appointments to the new board.
Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said: ‘It’s pleasing to see the transformation programme becoming more visible on many fronts. Work continued as far as possible during the pandemic, despite the focus of colleagues being diverted elsewhere. The timetable has been adjusted slightly but the way forward remains clear. We are aiming for Manx Care to operate in shadow form from the start of January 2021, only three months later than planned, with the new landmark body due to ‘go live’ as originally planned from April 2021*’
He added: ‘The coronavirus crisis made us find new ways of doing things, under pressure and at pace. We maintained and developed essential services while dealing with a global health crisis, learning a great deal about making swift and necessary changes to care delivery in a way we could never have predicted. The transformation programme and the Department are working together to incorporate some of the changes which served our people well into the wider transformation of service delivery. The programme will benefit from the determination of staff and the public to achieve lasting and progressive reforms to our treasured health and care services.’
The first annual report of the Health and Care Transformation Programme will be presented to Tynwald in July.