The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, provides initial reaction to the Health Minister’s ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026 - Delivering Together’ report.
Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said, “I welcome the Minister’s vision of a system that meets the needs of all the people of Northern Ireland, and the human rights basis upon which it is developed.
“While the devil will be in the detail, I particularly welcome the emphasis placed on prevention and early intervention for children through family support and universal services such as Health Visitors. I am also pleased to see a focus on Looked after Children and a commitment to implement Paediatric Strategies (2016-2026) such as cardiology and end of life care.
“The renewed emphasis placed on addressing the mental health needs of young people and the need to focus on the adversities that can lead to them, is vital and one which we look forward to working with the Minister on.
“If undertaken in partnership with children and their families and properly resourced, these proposals will make sure that children and young people will get the best start in life and a healthy and happy journey into adulthood.
The Expert Panel Report which has informed the Minister and the NI Executive outlines a clear case for change, identifying “striking health inequalities” in our society. Something the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child also commented on, in relation to some of our most vulnerable children and young people, in its recent examination of NI.
The Commissioner concluded, “I will continue to monitor the developments of this vision for the Health and Social Care of our children and young people.”
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Notes to Editors
- The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established in 2003 by the Assembly and Parliament to: “safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children and young people”.
- The Committee on the Rights of the Child, has recently examined the UK State Party against its commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and made specific recommendations on a child’s rights to health and health care services (Section G: Disability, basic health and welfare (arts. 6, 18 (3), 23, 24, 26, 27 (1)-(3) and 33) para 58-71).You can read more here on website.
- As a key duty bearer of the UNCRC the Minister of Health, along with her Executive colleagues have a central role in helping children and young people to realize their rights as individual rights holders, this includes their right to ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health, (…) and to strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.’ (Article 24 (1)).