Covid-19 Podcasts: The challenges for health and social care in Northern Ireland

We are pleased to launch two new podcasts exploring challenges in health and social care in Northern Ireland

We are pleased to launch two new podcasts exploring challenges in health and social care in Northern Ireland. These podcasts are a partnership between Ulster University and Pivotal, the public policy think tank for Northern Ireland.

These new podcasts feature eight leading academics from Ulster University discussing the challenges and opportunities for healthcare, including the impact of Covid-19. The topics covered range from the need for reform in healthcare delivery to physical activity and nutrition, and from the use of technology in healthcare to the future of social care. Each podcast ends with the speakers giving their headline summary message for Northern Ireland’s political leaders.

The discussions provide some common public policy themes in health and social care:

Limited funding meets ever-increasing demand – in Northern Ireland as elsewhere, increasing life expectancies plus improved healthcare mean that spend on health and social care continues to increase. Finding ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing health and social care spending is essential.

Reform of healthcare delivery is urgently needed – in recent years there have been seven independent reviews of health and social care in Northern Ireland. Despite widespread acceptance of the recommendations for reform, there has been little progress in implementation. There is an urgent need for political leaders to collectively address these difficult decisions about future provision and agree how change will be delivered.

Technology provides important opportunities to deliver healthcare with greater efficiency – we need to embrace new technologies which can help diagnose and manage health conditions more effectively and efficiently.

Leadership is needed to front up to the challenges and seize the opportunities – in both politics and healthcare, leaders need to make the tough decisions about future healthcare delivery, making changes to current provision where that is needed to put services on track for the future.

A comprehensive review of social care in Northern Ireland is needed – Covid-19 has shone a light on the care sector, which was already under severe pressure prior to the pandemic. With demand for care only going to increase, there needs to be a realistic and practical discussion about future funding and delivery of social care provision. Again, tough choices will be needed.

We need more public debate about the funding challenges and need for reform in health and social care – these issues affect every one of us, and either now or in the future they will impact on each of our lives and the lives of those close to us. We need more informed and realistic public debate involving everyone in Northern Ireland about the extent of the current challenges in health and social care, so that we all have a better understanding of the challenges and choices, and so that the public have a change to influence decisions about the future.

The podcasts are hosted by Ann Watt, Director of Pivotal, the independent public policy think tank for Northern Ireland.

Our thanks to the Ulster University staff who shared their expertise and ideas in these podcasts.

Listen to the podcasts

Related staff

Professor Ann-Marie Gray

Professor of Social Policy

School of Applied Social and Policy Sc.

Professor Deirdre Heenan

Professor of Social Policy

School of Applied Social and Policy Sc.

Richard Johnston

Associate Director, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC)

Ulster University Economic Policy Centre

Areas of expertise

Competitiveness, productivity, local economic development, economic impact assessments, corporation tax, the rating system.

Professor Gerard Leavey

Director of the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing

School of Psychology

Professor James McLaughlin

Head of School of Engineering

School of Engineering

Areas of expertise

Nanotechnology, point of care diagnostics, integrated algorithm based solutions, sensor & IOT technology, Digital Healthcare Technology, Innovation.

Professor Tara Moore

Professor of Personalised Medicine

School of Biomedical Sciences

Areas of expertise

Personalised medicine, virology, microbiology, genetic diagnostics.

Professor Marie Murphy

Dean of Postgraduate Research and Director of the Ulster Doctoral College

Ulster University Doctoral College

  • Key responsibilities
    • Provides strategic leadership for the Doctoral College
    • Chairs the Doctoral College Board and represents the DC at senior level in the university and externally
    • Policy development for postgraduate research at Ulster

   Find out more about Professor Marie Murphy