Minister O’Neill delivers on commitment to launch paediatric strategies

Date published: 30 November 2016


Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched two strategies that will modernise and enhance paediatric healthcare over the next 10 years.

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The Minister launched the Strategy for Paediatric Healthcare Services Provided in Hospitals and in the Community (2016 – 2026) and the Strategy for Children’s Palliative and End-Of-Life Care (2016 - 2026).

The Minister said: “In Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together, I recognised the need to modernise and further improve paediatric services in the north and I made a commitment to launch these two strategies before the end of November.

“Like many other services in the health and social care sector, health services for children and young people have undergone considerable change in the last decade and further changes are anticipated in the years ahead. These include changing population health needs, increasing complexity of conditions, maintaining recognised standards of good practice and the opportunity presented by innovative healthcare. Standing still is therefore not an option, we must make changes.”

Speaking about the Strategy for Paediatric Healthcare Services Provided in Hospitals and in the Community, Minister O’Neill said: “This strategy will ensure services are provided in the right setting, at the right time and with the right kind of support to best meet the needs of children, their families and carers.

“This will include taking advantage of technology to deliver increased levels of care in the community such as near patient testing, telemonitoring and teleconferencing linked to specialist hospital advice and support. It will also involve strengthening the links between community and hospital services, and services within and between hospitals.”

Referring to the Strategy for Children’s Palliative and End-Of-Life Care (2016 - 2026), the Minister commented: “It is a sad reality that each year in the north around 150 children pass away, and an estimated 1,300 are living with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. For a child that is ill, it is so important that their quality of life is the very best that it can be, in spite of the circumstances in which they find themselves. The Children’s Palliative and End-Of-Life Care Strategy sets the clear aim of delivering improved services for the children, carers and their families who require specialist palliative and end of life care.

“Finally, I would like to acknowledge all the Health and Social Care (HSC) staff, staff in the Children’s Hospice, and all other organisations and individuals who work hard to provide the best possible care and support to children and their families. Their continued dedication, commitment and expertise have been invaluable and I look forward to working together to make these strategies a reality.

“The first step towards implementation of the strategies will be to establish a paediatric network that will oversee the reform of these services. I will make further announcements about investment in paediatric services in due course.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The launch of these two strategies is a key commitment in Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together. The strategies are available via the links below.
  2. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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