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?

It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths

“The figures on deaths relate in almost all cases to patients who have died in hospital and who have tested positive for COVID-19. Slight differences in reporting in devolved administrations may mean that they include a small number of deaths outside hospital.” — Department of Health and Social Care (UK)

[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.]

Continue reading It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths

Fighting a fire blindfolded? COVID-19 testing in Northern Ireland

Fighting a fire blindfolded? COVID-19 testing in Northern Ireland
by Jenny McENEANEY for FactCheckNI
8 April 2020

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded… test, test, test.” That’s a summary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance to countries battling the global outbreak of COVID-19. Globally, there has been a variance in the rate of testing as countries battle to suppress and/or mitigate the spread of the virus. How does Northern Ireland fit into the global picture? How have we fared on testing to date and what is the target going forward? Continue reading Fighting a fire blindfolded? COVID-19 testing in Northern Ireland

Accessing abortion services in Northern Ireland

Accessing abortion services in Northern Ireland
by Dr Orna YOUNG for FactCheckNI
11 October 2019

There have been changes in the accessibility of abortion services in Northern Ireland. In this article, FactCheckNI seeks to provide both a historical and contemporary context for these changes, and to clarify the new guidelines. Continue reading Accessing abortion services in Northern Ireland

A beginner’s guide to fact checking

A beginner’s guide to fact checking
by Dr Orna YOUNG
4 September 2019

Fact checking can be done by anyone. We at FactCheckNI train groups to ensure that individuals can determine the accuracy of their news. There are simple questions and steps we can all take when considering information online: Continue reading A beginner’s guide to fact checking

Communal counting: The Northern Ireland census

Communal counting: The Northern Ireland census
by Ferre WOUTERS
6 March 2019

In Northern Ireland, much data are reduced to communal categories of “Protestant” and “Catholic”, for the purposes of monitoring the delivery of public services and compliance with discrimination legislation. These two religious denominations are also used as proxy for British unionist and Irish nationalist identities. For some, a Protestant-majority population provides assurance of continuation of the Union with Great Britain; for others, a Catholic-majority population means a call for a referendum for a united Ireland. Thus the decennial exercise of the Northern Ireland population census has an added sensitivity and importance. Continue reading Communal counting: The Northern Ireland census