Health Minister Robin Swann marked his final day in office by sending a personal tribute to health service staff.
In a letter issued to staff, the Minister highlighted their sacrifices and commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the pandemic demonstrated the need for a resilient and well-resourced health service, adding, ‘Everyone in government, both locally and nationally, must not be allowed to forget that lesson. I fear that some may want to try.’
His letter expressed confidence that a better future is achievable for the health service, but said there are ‘currently significant political and budgetary obstacles in the way’. He also stated that while health service transformation was delayed by the pandemic, it is happening.
He told staff, ‘You have been through so much in recent years, as COVID-19 changed the world and ravaged our health service. Likewise, in the years before the pandemic, you felt the brunt of austerity measures as financial pressures built up.
‘And yet you have persevered. Your commitment to serving the public has not diminished. As a society, we would be lost without you.
‘So let me once again thank you for all that you do.’
The letter concluded, ‘I retain my optimism for the future because of the great staff throughout health and social care. I am honoured to have been your Minister. Please be assured that whatever the future holds for me, I will always be in your corner.’