Robin Swann outlines plans to rebuild health care as pandemic lockdown eases

Health Minister Robin Swann

Plans to rebuild health and social care services over the summer in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic were today published by the Health Minister Robin Swann.

The Trust rebuilding plans for July to September were, however, launched amid warnings from the Minister that the threat from Coronavirus had not disappeared and it would still have an impact on the delivery of health and social care.

Welcoming the release of the plans, Minister Swann said: “We need to increase the services as soon as possible and at the same time prepare for potential future surges. We need to be able to maintain social distancing while delivering for the many citizens who are waiting on a procedure or a diagnosis.

“I do not underestimate the challenge ahead and there will be a need to prioritise services given the significant constraints that our health and social care services continue to face.”

The Minister paid tribute to the overwhelming support shown by the public for health and social care staff during the Covid-19 emergency.

However he added: “As we now move to increase capacity and activity, we will need to adopt a flexible and adaptable approach. I would urge the public to continue supporting our health and social care staff and show patience during this rebuilding phase.”

Meanwhile, online resources are to made available to schools this summer to help alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on children’s learning, Education Minister Peter Weir confirmed.

Around 50 schools are running activities during July and August, who will be able to access:

Support for on-line resources to assist children going into Year 7 in the development of their literacy and numeracy skills; and
Support for Summer School provision for primary schools who wish to deliver these activities aimed at children going into Years 5, 6 and 7.

Minister Weir commented: “In June, I announced plans for a package of measures to help children and young people through the summer period and beyond to help alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on children’s learning. The summer months provide an important opportunity to help support this group of children and young people. The main purpose of these initiatives is to resource schools to support and build confidence in children, ensuring they are ready to engage in their learning.”

In other news, two companies that have adapted to the economic challenges triggered by Covid-19 in Craigavon were today visited by the Economy Minister Diane Dodds.

The Minister dropped into Craigmore, which supplies PPE and industrial cleaning equipment and is performing strongly in the current economic climate.

Minister Dodds noted: “Thanks to the introduction of measures such as a click-and-collect service, remote working and social distancing, Craigmore was able to seamlessly continue servicing its clients during the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, the company has seen an increase in revenue during the last three months given the demand for PPE and cleaning equipment.”

The Minister also paid a visit to Cubis Systems, a designer and manufacturer of access chamber and cable ducting systems.

She said afterwards: “Cubis Systems has fully embraced the precautions that manufacturing companies need to adopt in order to continue operating in the wake of the pandemic. The company is showing the flexibility needed for the ‘new normal’ and is continuing to manufacture units and supply key clients during this difficult time.”

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