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Advice on the Health (Amendment) Bill 2010

The Health (Amendment) Bill 2010 (the Bill) was referred to the Ombudsman for Children by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on 14 June 2010.

The Bill arose from the difficulties in accessing information held by the HSE encountered by the Independent Group established by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to examine the deaths of children in care since 2000. It is for this reason, in particular, that the Bill is of interest to this Office.

This Office is concerned that the development of policies, practices and procedures by public bodies, schools and voluntary hospitals should promote the rights and welfare of children as the overarching principle guiding any of their actions. The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is part of the State’s own independent monitoring mechanism. While this legislation addresses a specific problem that has arisen and is welcome to ensure cooperation in that context, it will do little to address the wider culture of cooperation required from public bodies in the context of children’s rights.