Hazzard Requests Human Rights Commission To Engage With Down Community Over Hospital Issues
South Down MLA Chris Hazzard (Sinn Féin) has made a request to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to host a health engagement meeting in Downpatrick following the announcement that the Commission will be investigating the current crisis within emergency medicine.
Mr Hazzard said: “I have been saying for some time now that the Health Service has been crawling from one crisis to another, putting local patients’ lives at risk. This intervention from the HRC indicates that patients, some in desperate need of immediate medical attention, are being so mistreated that it may represent a breach of their human rights.
“The HRC will now be investigating the current crisis, including the availability of access to local emergency care, and will hopefully shine a light on the need for urgent changes.”
Mr Hazzard added: “I am aware the Down Community Health Committee have made an official request to the HRC that they organise a public engagement in Downpatrick so that they may effectively engage with the local community.
“I would wholeheartedly back this move, and have since written to the HRC to ask that they give serious consideration to this opportunity.”
Human Rights Commission Inquiry Into Emergency Healthcare
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has launched a Human Rights Inquiry into emergency healthcare in Northern Ireland.
The main focus of the inquiry is the participation of the public and those working in the health system. The Commission will consider the human rights obligations of the Northern Ireland Executive and other relevant public authorities, and identify the extent to which the human rights of people seeking emergency care are respected, protected and fulfilled in practice. We will also identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement.
NIHRC Interim Chair, John Corey said: “We want to hear from anyone who has recently experienced emergency healthcare, and in particular from those who have sought care from an Accident and Emergency Unit. We also want to hear from the staff who provide this vital service.”
The Commission has opened a dedicated confidential Freephone line for the next three weeks (0800 028 6066). We encourage patients, family members, health care staff and representatives in the sector to share their experiences with us. Evidence can also be submitted via the NIHRC website (nihrc.org/inquiry).
Key to the Inquiry will be public hearings to take place in the autumn at various locations across Northern Ireland. The Commission will be calling Government representatives, public officials, staff, trade unions, patients and their family members to give evidence before the Inquiry.
The Panel of Inquiry will include Commissioner Marion Reynolds, assisted by Professor Paul Hunt, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.
Mr Corey explained: “The inquiry will consider the total experience of emergency health care from a human rights perspective. This includes the individual’s rights to respect for dignity, access to information, and their involvement in decision-making.
“The Commission will publish its final report and recommendations to the Northern Ireland Executive in April 2015.”
Poots Is Updated By College Of Emergency Medicine
Health Minister Edwin Poots has been updated by the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) on its recommendations to improve emergency care in Northern Ireland.
On 9 April, the CEM hosted the Unscheduled and Emergency Care Summit in the Stormont Hotel in Belfast which brought together senior leaders from the health sector to look at whole-system solutions to improve the quality of emergency care. During the summit, the CEM announced it would host a follow-up event in 60 days to ensure that learning and recommendations are developed and implemented.
The Minister attended the follow-up event today to reassure delegates of his commitment to improving care in emergency departments and hear their ideas and plans.
Speaking to delegates in the Stormont Hotel, the Health Minister said: “The aim of the conference on 9 April was to discuss whole system solutions to the pressures faced in emergency care. My message to the participants then was: ‘implementation, implementation, implementation’.
“In preparation for today, the CEM has developed draft recommendations and the purpose of this event is to develop a set of concrete goals and actions for implementation regionally, both immediately and in the medium and longer term, which build on those draft recommendations.
“I want to reiterate my personal commitment to doing all I can to help drive through change. I also expect commitment from everyone at this conference to achieving those goals and actions. I do not want a report that sits on the shelf.”
The 60-day follow-up summit brought together Northern Ireland’s most senior representatives of hospital medicine, general practice, nursing, social work, allied health professionals, as well as managers and representatives of Trade Unions.
The Minister added: “I look forward to receiving the responses to the recommendations and a plan of action we can implement, to help improve emergency care for our population.”
President of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Clifford Mann said: “Today’s follow up event will ensure the conclusions of the recent summit of all key players are shared with the people tasked with delivering the necessary actions to restore the emergency care system within Northern Ireland to a safe and sustainable system.”