Human Rights Inquiry Into Emergency Care In Hospitals


The Human Rights Commissions will be meeting in Downpatrick to take further testimony form anyone who wishes to comment to them on the state of the emergency services in Northern Ireland.

[caption id="attachment_45682" align="alignright" width="350"]The Downe A&E. The Downe A&E.[/caption]

The Commission will be holding public hearings during September and October 2014. They will hear from patients, family members, carers and also from government and medical officials. Members of the public are welcome to observe the hearings.

Register your attendance at or call us on 02890 243987.

The local meeting will be held between 12.30-6.30pm Tuesday 9 September, Down Arts Centre, Irish Street, Downpatrick. 

Given the crisis in local health provision with the cut back to opening hours at the Down A&E, many people across the Down District area were deeply concerned and have supported the campaign set up by the Down Community Health Committee.  A large turnout of people giving testimony to their own personal experiences is likely which could demonstrate a disparity is the delivery of health services and a a breach of human rights.


Minister Addresses Human Rights Inquiry Into Emergency Care

Health Minister Edwin Poots has addressed the Northern Ireland Human Rights Inquiry into Emergency Care in Belfast.

The Minister said: “As Minister for Health I am committed to ensuring that as far as am I able all of the necessary components for world class emergency care are in place for the people of Northern Ireland.”

The Minister praised the tireless commitment of the staff in the health service. He said: “The vast majority of doctors and nurses, porters, healthcare assistants and allied health professionals and indeed all those involved in healthcare, give 100% every day of the week. They give freely of their time to go the extra mile for their patients.”

Minister Poots described a fundamental set of values and principles to guide emergency and unscheduled care in Northern Ireland. He continued: “These principles and values must be the benchmark by which both I as Minister and the wider public measure performance in the HSC. These values and principles will go beyond waiting times and targets.

“I want to see services that are timely, evidence based, that are sensitive to individuals needs and which meet patient experience standards. I want every aspect of the system to work together to better meet the needs of the population. I want HSC organisations to continue to be ‘learning organisations’, to share innovations and quality improvements across the system.

[caption id="attachment_46723" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The closure of the evening and weekend services at the Downe A&E department  will likely throw up a lot of responses to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.  The closure of the evening and weekend services at the Downe A&E department will likely throw up a lot of responses to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.[/caption]

“I am determined that these values and principles will strengthen the basis of how my Department holds the HSC to account for its delivery of unscheduled care. These values will build on the work of Quality 20:20 and patient experience standards.”

Concluding the Minister said: “It is the public’s right to access these services and my Department’s commitment to provide the best treatment available, in the right place at the right time within the available resources.”

The inquiry also heard from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr McBride and Chief Nursing Officer, Charlotte McArdle.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has begun the first of 12 public hearings into Emergency Health care in Belfast today. The hearings, which are part of the Commission’s Human Rights Inquiry, will take place across Northern Ireland throughout September and October.

Newly appointed NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby said: “We are delighted to have the Minister for Health as our first participant. This Inquiry is about hearing from the people who use and work in our Emergency care system. We will also be listening to patients and healthcare staff about their experiences of Emergency Healthcare in Northern Ireland.”

The Inquiry is examining the quality of people’s experiences in emergency departments. The Commission is looking at the right to respect for dignity, the provision of accessible information, and the level of participation reported by patients and their families. The A&E experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups are also our key focus.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby added: “Everyone is welcome to come along and listen to the evidence given at the hearings. We want to identify what works, so it can be repeated, and what does not, so it can be improved. Over 700,000 people attend Accident and Emergency Services every year in Northern Ireland. We expect to hear from people who have had positive experiences as well as those who have not. The aim of this Inquiry is to have an improved emergency healthcare system in Northern Ireland, one that maintains human rights best practice.”

The Commission will publish its final report and recommendations to the Northern Ireland Executive in April 2015.