Future Planning Model for Northern Ireland – Consultation response

The Department of Health have commenced a programme of work to develop a new Integrated Care System model to replace the existing commissioning processes in Northern Ireland (NI) once the regional Health and Social Care Board ceases to function. The consultation sought input on the associated draft framework which serves as a blueprint for planning, managing and delivering services moving forward.

The RCPCH very much welcome the planned shift to an Integrated Care System in NI. We welcome the aim of collaborative working and ascribe to the World Health Organisation definition of integrated care, viz. ‘health services organised and managed so that people get the care they need, when they need it, in ways that are user friendly, achieve the desired results and provide value for money'.  

However, we stress that there needs to be a joined up, cogent approach to ensuring all services that support children’s health and wellbeing are configured in a way which truly delivers. We recognise that the basis of the new model must be focused on the principle of local level decision making, underpinned by a population health approach with a focus on improving outcomes and believe that children and young people should be at the heart of the new system design process.

The RCPCH recommends:

  • Having appropriate child health experts and the voice of children and young people embedded at the relevant levels within the new Integrated Care System
  • Paying cognisance to the Models of Care section of the RCPCH Paediatrics 2040 publication when designing paediatric and children's services
  • Ensuring better child health data collection and utilisation to inform the new planning and commissioning model
  • Ensuring the culture across the Health Service is receptive to the new integrated care model
  • Ensuring routine and emergency budgets are delineated and child health budgets are protected
  • Ensuring the networked, interlinked maternity, neonatal and paediatric services in NI are protected

Read the full response below.