Healthcare news

Former Health Board chief is to head up ambulance service

Michael Bloomfield
Seanín Graham

THE new head of the ambulance service is a former official from an NHS quango which was due to be axed a year ago, the Irish News has learned.

Michael Bloomfield had been one of the senior directors at the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) - the body which effectively runs the north's health service - since 2009.

Mr Bloomfield is due to take over as chief executive of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) in coming weeks.

His appointment comes at the most difficult periods for the organisation, with breaches of 999 response time targets due to problems across the entire hospital and community sector.

Mr Bloomfield's departure comes a year after the HSCB was due to be wound up, a move ordered by former DUP health minister Simon Hamilton in late 2015.

He said the body which employs almost 500 administrators and has a wages bill of more than £25 million would be gone by last March as it had "not worked properly" in terms of commissioning services and had too much bureaucracy.

However, it may be at least another year before the Board is wound up.

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