RCPCH publishes a manifesto for the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Northern Ireland

Today the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health publishes a manifesto for all current and future politicians to consider ahead of the imminent elections in Northern Ireland.

As we begin to come out of the pandemic, which has steadily impacted the wellbeing of our children, causing further entrenchment of inequalities, increasing mental health issues, and all at the same time as unfolding political instability, these elections will be unlike any other.

The recommendations within our manifesto sit under four themes: 

  1. Transform system and services
  2. Strengthen prevention and early Intervention
  3. Reduce child health inequalities and poverty
  4. Support the child health workforce

If implemented, these actions will enable our children to be happy, healthy and well and build strong foundations for their future. We also believe that implementing our recommendations to better support our child health workforce will enable them to continue to deliver the very best care and support services.

Dr Ray Nethercott, Paediatrician and RCPCH Officer for Ireland said:

Children are the future of our country, and this manifesto places them at the centre. Politicians, the NI Executive and the NI Assembly must do the same, and should consider child’s rights in all their policies with an overall commitment to making child health and wellbeing a priority in NI.

At this pivotal time, and post-election, NI requires strong and consolidated leadership, and we implore our current MLAs and those standing as candidates for the next mandate to step up to this challenge.

To paraphrase a longstanding and poignant adage; “it is easier to build strong children than repair broken adults”. Paediatricians in NI have known for some time that services for children are under significant pressure and too often we see the impact that waiting for treatment and assessment can have. We cannot expect long-term success in population health outcomes unless we prioritise how we deliver services for children and young people.

Read manifesto