In this article
The structure of healthcare in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, health (and social care) services are provided by Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts.
There are five HSC Trust areas: Belfast HSC Trust, Northern HSC Trust, South Eastern HSC Trust, Southern HSC Trust and Western HSC Trust. The sixth trust is the Northern Ireland Ambulance service, which covers the whole of the country.
The trusts’ aim is to improve health and social wellbeing, reducing health inequalities for those it provides it for. Trusts oversee hospitals, GP surgeries, and other family services such as pharmacies.
What healthcare services are available?
Health services your child might come to use include:
- Paediatrics / nurses.
- Learning disability teams.
- Dietary care.
- Dental services.
Your child might also be referred to various medical consultants for further treatment.
Accessing health services
Health services for disabled children can begin from birth or following diagnosis of a disability or condition. Initially, a disabled child might be referred for health services by a Health Visitor, a GP or by the parent themselves.
Health and Social Care trusts differ in their referral systems for the services they provide. For example, your child’s GP might refer them to a paediatrics service or a child development centre, and onto a physiotherapist or genetic services.
These referrals will result in a named worker who will pass information to families and back to other involved services.
Read more about healthcare in Northern Ireland at nidirect.