Health Minister Unveils ‘Public Listening Exercise’ Regarding Women’s Health

Credits: Queen's University Belfast

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland is launching a significant “public listening exercise” to gather views and opinions on addressing women’s health in the region.

Health Minister Robin Swan announced that Derry Well Women, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, will conduct this initiative.

It will run alongside the development of a Women’s Health Action Plan, which was announced last month and will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive Women’s Health Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Minister Swan emphasized the importance of the public conversation around women’s health and wellbeing, stating that these issues are high priorities for his department.

The exercise aims to engage with women in Northern Ireland to understand their views and experiences of the healthcare system and how it should be shaped in the future.

Health Minister (Credits:

The Department has allocated £10,000 in funding to support this initiative, which will include surveys and focus groups with the public, the voluntary, and the community sectors. Healthcare professionals will also be engaged to share their experiences and priorities for women’s health in Northern Ireland.

The Women’s Health Action Plan will complement existing initiatives across Health and Social Care and identify priority actions that can be taken forward within the current budget and those requiring additional investment.

Susan Gibson, Manager of Derry Well Women, welcomed the Department’s commitment to prioritizing women’s health. She expressed excitement about working in partnership to engage with women from across Northern Ireland and to ensure that their perspectives shape the development of a Women’s Health Strategy for the region.

Dr. Jenny McNeill from Queen’s University Belfast highlighted the importance of ensuring women’s voices are central to this exercise.

She emphasized that understanding women’s perspectives on current service provision, expectations for future health, and identifying gaps in care will inform a future strategy for Women’s Health in Northern Ireland.

The Department is finalizing arrangements for the listening exercise in partnership with Derry Well Women and Queen’s University Belfast. A timeline for the launch will be announced in the coming weeks.

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