A report by a committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly examined the structure and availability of supported living options for older people, and their capacity to meet the policy objective of the Transforming Your Care programme in terms of reducing the need for residential home places.
Source: Review of Supported Living for Older People in the Context of Transforming Your Care, Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety
A report said that the estimated prevalence of autism (including Asperger's Syndrome) in school age children in Northern Ireland had increased by 67 per cent across all health and social care trusts between 2008-09 and 2013-14, from 1.2 per cent of the compulsory school age population to 2.0 per cent.
Source: The Prevalence of Autism (including Asperger's Syndrome) in School Age Children in Northern Ireland 2014, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
A report by a committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly reviewed the Department's approach to managing waiting times for elective health care.
Source: Review of Waiting Times Report, Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety
The watchdog for older people in Northern Ireland said that referrals of alleged abuse against older people had increased by 76.3 per cent from 2011-2012 to 2013-14, and highlighted that Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom which did not have legal protections for older people who might be at risk of harm or abuse. The report made a number of recommendations to government, including a call for a single Adult Safeguarding Bill to be introduced to protect older people in Northern Ireland more effectively.
Source: Protecting Our Older People in Northern Ireland: A call for adult safeguarding legislation, Commission for Older people for Northern Ireland
A report said that older people in Northern Ireland were being denied access to assessments for NHS Continuing Healthcare, a package of National Health Service-funded ongoing care for individuals found to have a 'primary health need'. The report said that there was no clear guidance on the issue in Northern Ireland and, as a result, many older people were paying for care that should be paid for by the NHS. The report called for a range of measures, including: for the publication of guidance on NHS Continuing Healthcare in Northern Ireland; for trusts to meet their obligations to make a determination of NHS Continuing Healthcare prior to any placement in a care setting; and for the Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee and the Commissioner for Older People to make formal investigations.
Source: Judith Cross and Brenda Kearns, The Denial of NHS Continuing Healthcare in Northern Ireland, Age NI
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on proposals to to give effect to a major recommendation of the Bamford Review into mental health and learning disability services by providing a new, single, legislative framework governing all situations where a decision needed to be made in relation to the care, treatment, or personal welfare of a person aged 16 or over who lacked capacity to make the decision for themselves. The document discussed the draft provisions relating to civil society, and outlined a proposed approach for people within the criminal justice system. The consultation would close on 2 September 2014.
Source: Draft Mental Capacity Bill (NI): Consultation document, Northern Ireland Executive
A report examined the quality of National Health Service patient care in the four United Kingdom countries since devolution, based on analysis of around 20 indicators from the 1990s onwards. It said that there had been significant improvements across all four countries, with the performance gap between England and the rest having narrowed in spite of policy differences between the four countries. The report said there had been particular progress in Scotland, but that waiting times in Wales had risen since 2010. All countries had increased the amount spent on healthcare, but spending had slowed in response to austerity. The report compared results with an earlier study in 2010 and also analyzed the north east of England as a comparator to the devolved countries.
Source: Gwyn Bevan, Marina Karanikolos, Jo Exley, Ellen Nolte, Sheelah Connolly, and Nicholas Mays, The Four Health Systems of the United Kingdom: How do they compare?, Health Foundation/Nuffield Trust
The Northern Ireland Assembly published a cross-departmental strategy and action plan for people with autism, outlining a whole of life approach for service provision.
Source: The Autism Strategy (2013 ï¿½ 2020) and Action Plan (2013 ï¿½ 2016), Northern Ireland Executive
An article said that the lack of a clear law on abortion in Northern Ireland had led to confusion and misinformation. It said there was evidence of religious and cultural bias at an institutional level against abortion in any circumstances, and the legislatures in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom had failed to live up both to domestic legal standards and to international human rights law on reproductive health.
Source: Fiona Bloomer and Eileen Fegan, 'Critiquing recent abortion law and policy in Northern Ireland', Critical Social Policy, Volume 34 Issue 1
An article examined the types of choices available to patients in the English National Health Service when being referred for acute hospital care, in the light of the divergence of patient choice policy in the four countries of the United Kingdom. There were challenges in implementing pro-choice policy in healthcare systems where it had not traditionally existed. Differences between England and the other UK countries were limited in the way choice was offered to patients. A cultural shift was needed to ensure that patients were fully informed by family doctors of the choices available to them.
Source: Marie Sanderson, Pauline Allen, Stephen Peckham, David Hughes, Menna Brown, Grace Kelly, Debbie Baldie, Nicholas Mays, Alison Linyard, and Anne Duguid, 'Divergence of NHS choice policy in the UK: what difference has patient choice policy in England made?', Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, Volume 18 Number 4
An article examined abortion rights in Northern Ireland. It explored the interconnectedness of civil, political, and social rights; and the implications of an inability to vindicate any aspect of those rights.
Source: Goretti Horgan and Julia O'Connor, 'Abortion and citizenship rights in a devolved region of the UK', Social Policy and Society, Volume 13 Issue 1
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on proposals to review the palliative and end-of-life care of children and young people, and how bereaved families were helped to cope with the loss of their child. The consultation would close on 28 March 2014.
Source: A Review of Children's Palliative and End of Life Care in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Executive