Northern Ireland extends strategy to improve disabled people’s services

Northern Ireland’s health minister has confirmed that an action plan to improve care and services for disabled people will be extended to next September.


Some young disabled people said they had difficulties accessing physiotherapy 

‘This extension underscores my commitment to helping improve outcomes, services and support for those in the north of Ireland who have a physical, communication or sensory disability,’ said Michelle O’Neill.

When it was launched in February 2012, the 114-page plan was expected to run until October this year. Its broad aims are to promote optimal health and wellbeing, prevent further ill health and, where possible, achieve recovery.

The plan sets out a number of key areas where improving services and support can promote independence for disabled people, their families and carers. These include offering accessible information, as well as rehabilitation and equipment such as wheelchairs and prosthetics.

The document calls for integrated working, not just across government departments and health and social care organisations, but also in partnership with the third sector.

Ms O’Neill said it was clear that partnership working had been very effective during the development and implementation of the plan.

Investigations before the plan was published revealed some of the obstacles facing disabled people in accessing services, however.

Consultations with young disabled people, for example, showed they could find it hard to access specialist health and social care services once they made the transition from children’s services. This included access to physiotherapy and occupational therapies.


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