In response to the recall, the RCPCH Officer for Ireland Dr Ray Nethercott, says:
We welcome this recall of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and we hope that progress in the election of a speaker can be made, leading hastily on to the formation of a new Executive. Addressing the cost of living crisis is an urgent matter for families and their children and we implore MLAs to form an Executive and get to work.
The rising cost of living has already had a devastating impact on families and is only set to get worse. As paediatricians it’s clear that low-income families and their children will bear the greatest burden. We are already seeing families missing health appointments due to travel costs and parents skipping meals to feed their children. The effect this will have on the health and wellbeing of children and young people cannot be underestimated.
However, this is just one of the issues impeding children’s health in Northern Ireland and child health must become a priority for the Northern Ireland Executive. During this period of political inactivity children’s services have remained under serious pressure. This needs to change.
We have called on the Government to:
- Transform system and services
- Strengthen prevention and early Intervention
- Reduce child health inequalities and poverty
- Support the child health workforce
We cannot make progress with political uncertainty; action is needed now to prioritise and protect children so that they will thrive, prosper and live happy and healthy lives. Children’s health cannot be subject to any game of winners and losers.