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Health Minister to Attend First Public Hearing into Emergency Healthcare

04 Sept 2014

4 September 2014

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.


Further information:

For further information please contact Claire Martin on 02890243987(office) or 07717731873 (mobile).

Notes to editors

1. The Belfast Hearings will take place on 4th and 5th September 2014 from 12.30pm-6.30pm at the Youth Action Building, College Square North. Everyone is welcome to come along and observe.

2. The hearings involve taking evidence followed by questions from the panel. Contributions are not sought from the audience. The Commission opened an inquiry line and sought evidence from the public over the Summer this year.

3. The Inquiry Panel includes Commissioner Marion Reynolds, assisted by Professor Paul Hunt, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.

4. Further information, including dates and locations of all the public hearings can be found at:

5. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.

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