Latest Updates

Have your say on making the health service more open

22 Feb 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth

The Department of Health is currently working through its response to the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related Deaths.

Reform of stroke services could lead the way for health transformation

21 Feb 2019 Ryan MillerHealth, Health Reform, Social Policy

Stroke survivor Rosemary Brown and her partner Martin

A new report from the Stroke Association proves services have significant shortcomings. Officials have planned sweeping changes - which they want to show how our entire Health and Social Care system can be reformed.

Childcare provision is good but there are problems with affordability and sustainability

14 Feb 2019 Ryan MillerEducation, Economy, Social Policy, Sector Issues, Health, Equality

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Last month, Employers for Childcare released their ninth annual NI Childcare Cost Survey. The burden on families is enormous - but providers are also under huge strain. Reform (financial assistance and restructuring) is required.

The health revolution

13 Feb 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth, 4th Industrial Revolution

Medicine is at the dawn of a new era. A whole range of new digital technologies, significant steps in developing artificial intelligence and rapid developments on genomics will together transform healthcare forever.

The Crisis in Social Care: the road to nowhere

8 Feb 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth, Social Care

Power to People, the expert panel review of adult social care in Northern Ireland called for the authorities to start a public conversation about how services should be structured and funded.

Quality of life is easy to understand but difficult to pin down

8 Feb 2019 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Equality, Social Inclusion, Social Policy, Education, Economy

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Reform is possible in NI, even without a government. Officials last week published a paper seeking to understand what is meant by “quality of life” – with the ultimate aim of improving the lot of adults and children with disabilities.

Winning the war on cancer

31 Jan 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Northern Ireland’s first cancer charity. Scope looks back and examines the future of cancer treatments and asks if there will ever be a cure.

Popular input makes better policy

31 Jan 2019 Ryan MillerHealth, Equality, Social Policy

People love the NHS and attempts at reform are often met with public resistance. However, its adaptability has been one of its greatest strengths. The response to the hyponatraemia inquiry highlights this.

How to feed the world

25 Jan 2019 Nick GarbuttAgriculture, Policy

This week the great and the good gathered at Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting.

Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive

23 Jan 2019 Ryan MillerWelfare Reform, Mental Health, Child Poverty, Poverty, Social Policy, Equality, Sector Issues

An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.

How NI relies on Europe for employability schemes

18 Jan 2019 Ryan MillerEquality, Economy, Social Policy, Mental Health, Young People, skills, Welfare Reform

The European Social Fund represents a small amount of EU money – but supports a huge proportion of the schemes in its sector. Westminster’s delay on developing a replacement is worrying.

Brexit and the looming social care crisis

18 Jan 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth, Social Care

Health was a key issue in the Brexit referendum. Leavers promised us £350 million per week for the NHS, money it said we were currently paying to the EU.   

Teach your children well: the science of lasting peace

11 Jan 2019 Nick GarbuttPolicy, Education, Health

Experts from Northern Ireland have helped write a landmark paper which could help to build a more peaceful world.

Helping young people in difficult circumstances is challenging – but organisations are well placed to assist each other

11 Jan 2019 Ryan MillerEquality, Justice, Mental Health, Social Policy, Sector Issues, Young People

Partnership doesn’t have to mean joint projects – it can just be about regularly sharing ideas. The response of several youth groups brought together by the Urban Villages Initiative shows the value of strategic co-operation.

Plastic: Turning the tide

4 Jan 2019 Nick GarbuttEnvironment

Last year was a terrible one for those of us who care about the environment. There were apocalyptic reports about climate change, extreme weather conditions and species extermination.

Happy New Year – we can make a better world, but it won’t make itself

4 Jan 2019 Ryan MillerEquality, Economy, Social Policy

If we continue to chase some short-term economic growth at the expense of inclusive growth we not only make things harder for the majority of people, we are creating growth that will not be sustained.

Can ancestral trauma haunt the living?

20 Dec 2018 Nick GarbuttHealth, Mental Health

Pic: Monica Silva, Unsplash

Northern Ireland has high levels of mental ill health, self-harm and suicide. Attributing this to “inter-generational trauma” has become a mantra amongst commentators.

More Traveller voices should be heard in education

20 Dec 2018 Ryan MillerEquality, Education, Social Policy

Annie Doherty helping out with Toybox while studying for her GCSEs

Traveller examination results are not where they should be. This is not an insoluble problem, good work is being done, but we would do well to listen more to the views of the Traveller community.

Human Rights in NI – sleepwalking towards disaster

14 Dec 2018 Ryan MillerEquality, Justice, Health, Education, Social Policy, Human Rights

Lord Duncan of Springbank, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Commissioner Les Allamby at the launch of the statement this week

The Human Rights Commission published its Annual Statement this week. We have plenty of problems, too few solutions, and the problems stemming from our lack of a government only ever grow in number.

Charities and gagging clauses

13 Dec 2018 Nick GarbuttSector Issues, Government

Beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa has taken time off from her Brexit travails to intervene in the growing controversy over charities being forced to sign gagging clauses in public contracts.

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