Bradshaw questions Health Minister’s Bengoa Report delay

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has questioned whether the Health Minister is afraid of open debate, after she refused to release a major report into the future of the health service.

The Bengoa Report, which contains the findings of an expert panel tasked with restructuring health and social care here, was delivered to Michelle O’Neill earlier this month. A Ministerial response is due in the autumn, however, Ms Bradshaw said there was no reason the initial report could not see the light of day immediately.

“The Bengoa Report has the chance to radically reform the health service here and make much-needed changes that will benefit the most important people – those who use it. There is certainly a case for the Minister studying the report and creating a response but she has now had possession of it for several weeks and we have yet to see a word of it publicly.

“The expert panel is independent, so it would be wrong for the Minister to attempt and put any form of stamp on it or exert influence before the public sees it. I would be disappointed if the Minister and wider Executive were afraid of open debate, particularly so soon into the new Assembly term.

“It is possible the Minister may be actually opposed to any potential reforms suggested in the Bengoa Report. Anyone who has used the health service lately knows changes are required. This is a chance for the Minister to show that is her belief as well and as part of the process, I call on her to release the Bengoa Report without any further delay.”

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