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Background Information on Northern Ireland Society - Health and Social Security



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Text and Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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Health and Social Security in Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland operates the same Social Security System as the rest of the United Kingdom. This Social Security is designed to provide financial help for those who are unemployed, sick, disabled, on low incomes or generally in need of financial support. There are currently over 30 different types of benefit schemes available, and these are administered through the Social Security Agency.

  • In 1995-1996, the Social Security Agency paid a total of £2,539 million in Social Security Benefits. It now estimates that over the 1996-1997 financial year, it will have paid approximately £3.1 billion to over one million people.

  • There are now 35 Social Security offices throughout Northern Ireland, and the Agency itself employs over 5,000 people, although some of these individuals are involved in providing processing services for the GB Benefits Agency.

  • The term Health and Personal Social Services refers to a wide range of services designed to meet the health and social needs of individuals.

  • In 1994/1995, Government expenditure on Health and Personal Social Services alone amounted to £1.3 billion. It is estimated that this total will be in excess of £1.5 billion for 1996-1997.

  • Health and Personal Social Services in Northern Ireland are delivered through four Health and Social Services Boards, based on local authority districts. These are; Eastern Health and Social Services Board; Northern Health and Social Services Board; Southern Health and Social Services Board; Western Health and Social Services Board.

  • The Government is planning a major spend of £175 million in the coming years to improve 5 main hospitals in Northern Ireland.

  • Northern Ireland has a higher incidence of deaths resulting from both heart diseases and respiratory diseases than any other part of the UK.

  • Compared to the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland has the highest number of deaths resulting from road traffic accidents (with 10 deaths per 100,000 of population as opposed to 6 per 100,000 in England).This figure is also substantially higher than the figures for the Republic of Ireland.

  • From 1971 - 1994, Northern Ireland had the highest rate of infant mortality in the UK. However, this has been decreasing steadily over the years, and has fallen from 22.7 (per 1,000 live and still births) in 1971 to 6.1 in 1994.

  • A total of 214,960 persons in Northern Ireland receive income support each year; a further 22,299 receive other non-contributory benefits, including family credit, attendance allowance, mobility allowance and retirement pensions, and some 222,676 families receive child benefit.

Sources:
The following tables provide further breakdowns of the health and social security statistics available for Northern Ireland. Much of this material has been taken from the Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics (1996), Regional Trends (1996), The continuous Household Survey (1991), and the Irish Almanac and Yearbook of Facts (1997).
Other relevant web sites include those of the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency {External Link} and the Department of Health and Personal Social Services {External Link} for Northern Ireland.





Dependence on Benefits in Northern Ireland: A Breakdown by Religion

.
1985-1987
1988-1990/91
Receipt of Benefits
Catholic
%
Protestant
%
Overall
%
Catholic
%
Protestant
%
Overall
%
Income Support
37
20
26
30
16
21
Family Credit
4
2
2
4
2
2
Unemployment Benefit
2
2
2
1
1
1

(Source: PPRU Monitor, Continuous Household Survey, Religion Report, No.1/93)





Number of People Receiving Income Support

.
1988
1989
1990
1992
1993
Persons < 60 years of age
Unemployed with contributory benefit
3,500
4,600
1,780
1,560
920
Unemployed without contributory benefit
72,480
68,240
63,060
74,880
79,960
Disabled
8,940
12,240
11,400
16,540
19,660
Lone parent premium not in other groups
11,980
12,720
18,160
13,820
16,980
Others
11,980
12,720
18,160
13,820
16,980
Persons > 60 years of age
Retirement Pensions
53,420
48,580
51,120
45,920
50,280
Others
12,600
12,820
7,400
13,360
14,180
All Income Support
184,140
183,400
179,000
199,820
214,960

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics)





Entitlement to Unemployment Benefit

.
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
.
May
Nov
May
Nov
May
Nov
May
Nov
May
Nov
Unemployment Benefit
Only
11.5
11.3
13.1
14.0
14.6
14.1
12.9
12.4
10.7
8.2
Unemployment Benefit
and Income Support
2.0
1.8
2.1
2.2
2.1
2.1
1.6
2.1
2.7
3.8

Income Support only

75.4

75.1

78.2

78.8

82.4

82.3

78.6

73.7

71.5

7.0
Neither Unemployment Benefit or Income Support Payment
7.9
6.6
5.9
6.4
6.0
6.9
5.0
11.1
10.2
9.3

All Entitled

96.8

94.8

99.3

101.5

105.1

105.4

98.1

99.4

95.2

91.3

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics)





Number of Families Receiving Child Benefit

.
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
Without one Parent Benefit
No. of Children
in family
.. .. .. ..
1
65,804
66,248
65,746
65,136
64,384
63,862
63,758
64,066
64,332
64,690
2
69,396
68,568
67,884
67,738
67,480
67,682
68,106
68,618
69,408
69,720
3
37,814
37,668
37,152
37,170
36,960
36,890
37,010
37,128
37,224
36,704
4
16,478
16,366
16,512
16,506
16,108
15,862
15,660
15,436
15,042
14,896
>5
9,762
9,396
8,956
8,810
8,528
8,204
7,878
7,446
7,182
6,662
Children for whom benefit paid
438,562
434,376
428,952
427,090
421,926
418,710
417,082
415,440
414,000
410,292
Families
199,254
198,246
196,250
195,360
193,460
192,500
192,412
192,694
193,188
192,672
With one Parent Benefit
No. of Children in
family
.. .. .. .. .
1
10,244
11,242
11,924
12,852
13,678
14,526
15,500
16,366
17,012
17,762
2
4,382
4,692
5,106
5,622
6,056
6,672
7,362
8,106
8,582
9,172
3
1,550
1,652
1,824
2,006
2,368
2,672
2,832
3,018
3,192
3,430
4
476
516
534
616
708
786
894
994
1,070
1,194
>5
186
210
232
254
296
350
356
378
404
446
Children for whom benefit paid
26,582
28,802
31,010
33,966
37,348
40,936
44,232
47,658
50,216
53,564
Families
16,838
18,312
19,620
21,350
23,106
25,006
26,944
28,862
30,260
32,004
All Families
No. of Children in Family. .. .. .. ..
1
76,048
77,490
77,670
77,988
78,062
78,388
79,258
80,432
81,344
82,452
2
73,778
73,260
72,990
73,360
73,536
74,354
75,468
76,724
77,990
78,892
3
39,364
39,320
38,976
39,176
39,328
39,562
39,842
40,146
40,416
40,134
4
16,954
16,882
17,046
17,122
16,816
16,648
16,554
16,430
16,112
16,090
>5
9,948
9,606
9,188
9,064
8,824
8,554
8,234
7,824
7,586
7,108
Children for whom benefit paid
465,144
463,178
459,962
461,056
459,274
459,646
461,314
463,098
464,616
463,856
Families receiving benefits
216,092
216,558
215,870
216,710
216,566
217,506
219,356
221,556
223,448
224,676

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996.)





Number of People Receiving Other Non-Contributory Benefits

.
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
Non-Contributory Retirement Pension
3,264
3,152
3,027
2,614
2,668
2,514
2,431
Family Credit
13,774
13,695
14,037
15,112
17,346
18,996
22,952
Attendance Allowance
29,394
32,374
36,456
38,877
32,977
54,787
56,111
Mobility Allowance
12,616
14,385
15,968
17,880
18,614
-
-
Invalid Care Allowance
5,728
7,133
8,117
8,249
10,395
16,971
22,299

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics)





Estimated Government Expenditure on Certain Cash Benefits

.
1989/90
1990/91
1991/92
1992/93
1993/94
£ million
Retirement
453
495
560
589
619
Sickness and Invalidity
168
193
228
257
293
Widow's
32
31
34
34
35
Unemployment
31.2
29.1
38.1
40.3
41.8
Severe Disablement
16.5
18.7
25.2
27.5
30.0
Income Support
373
419
488
570
625
Child Benefit
180
182
200
218
230
Family Credit
29.1
31.5
37.2
47.8
56.5
£ per head
Retirement
286
312
350
364
379
Sickness and Invalidity
106
121
142
159
179
Widow's
20
20
21
21
22
Unemployment
20
18
24
25
26
Severe Disablement
10
12
16
17
18
Income Support
236
264
305
352
383
Child Benefit
114
115
125
135
141
Family Credit
18
20
23
30
35

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, p.38)





Number of Deaths by Cause in Northern Ireland: Male and Female


Cause of Death
Male
Female
.
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
Ischaemic heart disease
2,697
2,658
2,399
2,365
2,205
1,989
2,088
1,928
1,948
1,963
Cerebbovascular disease
743
664
571
673
627
1,265
1,044
1,071
1,018
1,111
Other Circulatory diseases
612
555
486
476
480
758
735
655
632
625
All Circulatory Diseases
4,052
3,877
3,456
3,514
3,312
4,012
3,867
3,654
3,598
3,699
Bronchitis and allied conditions
424
418
436
404
372
199
249
246
286
262
Other respiratory diseases
874
798
883
721
712
1,084
1,103
1,216
1,012
1,052
All Respiratory Diseases
1,298
1,216
1,319
1,125
1,084
1,283
1,352
1,462
1,298
1,314
Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
1,681
1,742
1,801
1,871
1,883
1,601
1,667
1,724
1,750
1,782
Road Accidents
149
166
137
110
119
39
69
53
57
56
Suicides
101
121
115
90
107
44
32
43
17
31
Undetermined
22
18
6
13
10
7
12
4
8
3
Other violent deaths
207
245
216
184
252
161
171
125
102
110
All Violent Deaths
479
550
474
397
488
251
284
225
184
200
All other Causes of Death
644
608
598
562
594
764
650
713
689
757
Total Deaths
8,154
7,993
7,648
7,469
7,362
7,911
7,820
7,778
7,519
7,752

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996, p.27-28)






Mortality Rates : by Cause and Gender
A comparison of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales

(Rates per 100,000 population)

.
All Circulatory Diseases
All Respiratory Diseases
.
All Injuries and Poisonings
.
.
Total
Ischaemic heart disease
Cerebro-
vascular disease
Total
Bronchitis and allied conditions
Cancer
Total
Road
traffic
accidents
Suicides & open verdicts

Other causes

All causes

Males
England
449
285
84
146
59
283
40
9
16
113
1,031
Wales
473
306
85
149
59
297
47
10
20
110
1,076
Scotland
549
349
123
145
60
326
61
10
25
145
1,227
Northern Ireland
524

346

102

178

59

286

66

13

16

96

1,151

Females
England
469
230
138
164
38
251
22
4
5
157
1,062
Wales
502
244
147
159
38
258
25
4
5
144
1,089
Scotland
592
288
203
155
43
293
34
4
8
177
1,252
Northern Ireland
579

303

177

211

36

251

28

7

4

123

1,189

All Persons
England
460
257
112
155
48
267
30
6
10
135
1,048
Wales
488
274
117
154
48
277
36
7
12
127
1,082
Scotland
567
315
163
149
50
307
47
7
16
161
1,232
Northern Ireland
549

321

140

194

47

267

46

10

10

110

1,165

(Source: Office for National Sttistics, Regional Trends, 1996)





Infant Mortality in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales

.
Infant Mortality, (per 1,000 live and still births)
.
1971
1981
1993
1994
Northern Ireland
22.7
13.2
7.1
6.1
England
17.5
10.9
6.3
6.1
Scotland
19.9
11.3
6.5
6.2
Wales
18.4
12.6
5.5
6.2

(Source: Office for National Sttistics, Regional Trends, 1996)





Estimated Rate of Disability among Adults and numbers of Disabled Adults in Northern Ireland, by Severity Category and Gender.

.
Men
Women
Total
Severity
category
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
1-2
54
30
55
33
55
63
3-4
34
19
41
25
38
44
5-6
26
15
43
26
35
41
7-8
20
11
32
20
26
31
9-10
14
8
24
14
19
22
All Categories
149
83
197
118
174
201

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996)





Estimated Rate of Disability among Children and Numbers of Disabled Children in Northern Ireland by Gender, Age Group and Severity Category.

.
Age Group
..
0-4 years
5-9 years
10-15 years
All age groups
Severity
Category
.
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
rate per
1,000
number
(000s)
1-2Boys
9
0.6
8
0.6
11
0.9
9
2.0
.Girls
7
0.4
4
0.3
7
0.5
6
1.2
3-4Boys
6
0.4
9
0.6
9
0.7
8
1.7
.Girls
4
0.3
8
0.5
5
0.4
6
1.2
5-6Boys
7
0.5
8
0.5
13
1.0
9
2.0
.Girls
5
0.4
9
0.6
9
0.7
8
1.6
7-8Boys
2
0.1
9
0.6
7
0.6
6
1.3
.Girls
2
0.1
5
0.4
9
0.6
5
1.1
9-10Boys
-
-
10
0.7
10
0.7
7
1.4
.Girls
2
0.1
5
0.4
9
0.6
5
1.1
All
Categories

Boys

24

1.7

45

3.1

50

3.9

40

8.6
.Girls
20
1.3
32
2.1
35
2.6
29
6.0

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996)





Number of Hospital Discharges per year,
(incl. Deaths and transfers to other hospitals)

.
1988/89
1989/90
1990/91
1991/92
1992/93
1993/94
1994/95
Acute Services
204,239
208,203
207,300
210,414
215,400
219,999
221,954
Maternity and Child Health
38,863
37,583
38,108
38,012
37,168
46,530
50,701
Elderly Care
8,377
9,492
10,554
11,344
11,890
12,761
14,346
Mental Health
7,225
7,261
6,991
7,165
7,869
8,259
8,325
learning Disability
1,224
1,667
1,774
2,206
2,204
2,319
2,476
Total Day Cases
43,729
45,141
49,724
60,094
68,173
78,713
91,215

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996, p. 32)






Available Hospital Beds by Programme of Care

Programme of Care

1988/89

1989/90

1990/91

1991/92

1992/93

1993/94

1994/95

Acute Services
5,932
5,679
5,463
5,268
5,112
4,872
4,633
Maternity and Child Health
943
902
889
857
813
973
1,015
Elderly Care
3,551
3,492
3,285
3,097
2,647
2,348
2,354
Mental Health
2,913
2,811
2,667
2,313
2,117
1,736
1,489
Learning Disability
1,345
1,270
1,184
1,065
1,023
949
860

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996, p. 32)





Outpatient Activity

.
1988/89
1989/90
1990/91
1991/92
1992/93
1993/94
1994/95
Total Referrals
306,355
314,268
317,748
329,477
339,141
350,891
360,310
Total consultant initiated
991,823
1,002,935
983,502
992,008
1,001,130
999,095
1,049,746

Total attendances
1,298,178
1,317,203
1,301,250
1,321,485
1,340,271
1,349,986
1,410,056

Clinic sessions
66,710
69,835
72,425
73,998
76,325
80,056
83,092
Non-attendance referrals
-
47,725
51,107
51,259
49,986
45,004
42,271
Non-attendance consultant initiated
-
189,572
203,411
195,665
193,195
183,484
184,331

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996, p. 32)






Attendance at Accident and Emergency Departments

.
1988/89
1989/90
1990/91
1991/92
1992/93
1993/94
1994/95
First Attendances
454,958
467,107
464,501
469,560
480,044
485,293
512,125
Follow-up Attendances
221,349
204,885
188,407
171,864
148,235
131,268
127,800

Total Attendance

676,307

671,992

652,908

641,424

628,279

616,561

639,925

(Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996, p. 32)


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