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More Than A Number: A Rights Based Review of Health Waiting Lists in Northern Ireland

More Than A Number is the result of a rights-based review of health waiting lists for under 18’s carried out by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, in accordance with its statutory functions as set out under Article 7(2) and 7(3) of The Commissioner for Children and Young People (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.

Northern Ireland has some of the longest health waiting times of all regions in the UK, with 1 in 4 people on a waiting list here, this includes 1000’s of children and young people. Delays in access to healthcare and the lack of visibility of children in health data is in direct contravention of children and young people’s rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This Review was conducted in recognition of the need for much greater transparency and focus on the extent of waiting lists across child health services, and clarity on the steps being taken to address this growing problem. The Review presents official waiting list data for children’s health services not published as part of DoH statistical bulletins. It also includes the voices of children and their families on the impact that waiting is having on their health and quality of life, and what they think needs to change about the system to ensure adequate supports are put in place. The engagement with professionals and practitioners working in and for child health services whilist carrying out this review was also invaluable.

The current Northern Ireland Executive has made a number of commitments to addressing the waiting list problem in Northern Ireland and it is the intention that this review informs that process and the broader transformation programme for the Health and Social Care System.

NICCY will seek a formal response to the report and its recommendations from the Department of Health and commits to monitoring the implementation of the recommendations in this review and will publish a progress update report in Autumn 2022.

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