Health service reform panel unveiled
A former World Health Organisation (WHO) professor is to lead an expert panel tasked with overseeing the transformation of Northern Ireland's stretched health service.
Prof Rafael Bengoa, a former Basque Country minister, is among six people appointed to the group.
The panel was recommended by Sir Liam Donaldson in his 2015 report which said there were too many hospitals and expertise was too thinly spread. It highlighted duplication and called for a simpler, more efficient system.
Sir Liam said the panel should be international, and it should be agreed in advance to accept its proposals.
However, Health Minister Simon Hamilton said he believed the panel should be mostly local and there would be no upfront agreement to accept its findings.
The panel announced yesterday has two international figures and four from Northern Ireland. They are:
Mairead McAlinden, chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and also a former chief executive of the Southern Trust in Northern Ireland.
Mark Taylor, consultant in general and hepatobiliary surgery and the current lead clinician at Belfast's Mater Hospital.
Alan Stout, east Belfast GP and deputy chairman of the NI General Practitioners Committee.
Bronagh Scott, deputy chief nurse for NHS England in the London region who previously worked for the Northern Trust in Northern Ireland.
Prof John Ovretveit, professor of healthcare innovation implementation and evaluation at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm
Mr Hamilton said: "This will be a clinically-led process to advise us what services the people of Northern Ireland should expect from their health and social care system."