Social distancing in Northern Ireland

This article explains what the rules are in Northern Ireland regarding the social distance between people. It also discusses the evidence regarding lessening the current 2 metre distance.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information that will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]
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Deep dive: COVID-19 related inequalities

Making basic comparisons between the numbers of COVID-19 positive tests or deaths across different geographic regions using raw figures may seem straightforward. But coming to conclusions about the significance of differences is fraught with difficulty, given differences in population structures (particularly age).

This explainer builds on our outline article and looks at the wealth of data and the charts behind recent reports from the Department of Health (DoH) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Those organisations present a standardised analysis of COVID-19 infections (positive test results), hospital admissions and deaths, to assess the different health outcomes across regions of Northern Ireland, with a particular focus on areas of least and most deprivation. Continue reading Deep dive: COVID-19 related inequalities

COVID-19 and health inequalities in Northern Ireland

This article explains data published by the Department of Health as well as the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, about COVID-19 related health inequalities in Northern Ireland.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information that will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.] Continue reading COVID-19 and health inequalities in Northern Ireland

What are shielding letters?

This article explains what the shielding letters are; who should have received them; and who sends them.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions. FactCheckNI have also produced a live Q&A article on shielding letters. It will be updated as and when new information becomes available – you can find it here.]

Summary

    • A ‘shielding letter’ is to inform those that they should comply with stricter stay at home restrictions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
    • GP Practices were provided with a search tool by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to aid them in identifying those patients who were the “clinically extremely vulnerable”. GPs were also asked to use their clinical judgement as to who should receive a shielding letter based on the criteria listed. The guidance issued is advisory for the patient’s health, but the UK government advises that if you choose not to follow these regulations, to speak with your GP before reaching the decision.
    • The Department of Health is working closely with Community Pharmacists and Community Health Development Network to ensure that those who are in need of medicines and are ‘shielding’ can avail of pharmacy deliveries.
    • Guidance on shielding for people at potentially higher risk from COVID-19 is being actively reviewed.

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What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?

This article explains what the rules of “lockdown” during COVID-19 are in Northern Ireland.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

Northern Ireland is currently under ‘lockdown’ since 23 March with citizens practicing social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19. All citizens must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse or necessity for leaving.

    • Legislation was enacted on 28 March which governs enforcement by the PSNI.
    • Legislation was amended on Friday 24 April to include the opening of cemeteries and to allow for short distances travelled to safe places or facilities for exercise.
    • As of 25 April 2020, since lockdown began the PSNI has issued 570 cautions and 358 penalty fines (00:45).
    • The Irish Government have introduced ‘stay at home’ measures until 5 May with travel for exercise restricted to a 2km radius from the residence.

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The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

This article explains how the health system in Northern Ireland is structured, and who is responsible for COVID-19 planning and decision making.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

There is a huge amount of collaboration between health bodies around COVID-19 in Northern Ireland. But the division of responsibilities can be understood as follows:

    • Health policy is devolved to Northern Ireland, but there is a focus on coordination with the wider UK and the Republic of Ireland.
    • The Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for coordinating the overall response.
    • The Department of Health sets COVID-19 policy, regulations and health strategy.
    • The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) commissions services.
    • The Public Health Authority (PHA) collects information, issues advice and communicates key messages.
    • Health Trusts manage the day to day running of hospitals, health centres, residential homes and other health and social care facilities. The Northern Ambulance Service is also a Trust.

Continue reading The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?