The right to healthcare

The Right to Healthcare

You have the right to the best health care possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well.

Hear your right – read by Caoimhe Ní Scolaí


As Gaelige

Tá sé de cheart agat na nithe seo a fháil: an cúram sláinte is fearr agus is féidir, uisce óil sábháilte, bia cothaitheach, timpeallacht ghlan agus shábháilte, agus eolas chun cuidiú leat fanacht slán.

Éist le do chearta – léite ag Luke Ó Murchú


Do you know?

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines ‘health’ as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Therefore, health is about more that the absence of illness and disease.
  • 7 April is World Health Day and 10 October is World Mental Health Day.
  • Once you reach 16 years of age, you can consent to medical, surgical and dental treatment. However, even if you are over 16, doctors and hospitals will usually look for the consent of your parent or guardian before carrying out tests or treatment. You need to be 18 years old or over to give consent for mental health treatment.
  • The Health Service Executive (HSE) is the agency responsible for delivering health and personal social services in Ireland.
  • The Free GP Care Scheme means that GP care in Ireland is free for children under 6 years old.
  • According to the Mental Health Commission in Ireland, there were 95 admissions of children to adult mental health units in 2015. For the majority of these admissions (75%), efforts were made to admit the child to an age-appropriate, approved centre.
  • In March 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Ireland should take a number of steps to improve healthcare for children and young people in Ireland. These recommendations included that Ireland should improve access to healthcare services for Traveller and Roma children, children living in poverty, and children in one-parent families. In relation to mental health, the UN Committee recommended that Ireland should improve its in-patient and out-of hours mental health services for children and young people as well as its facilities for treating eating disorders. It also recommended that Ireland should look at setting up a mental health advocacy and information service for children.
  • According to a national study of children in Ireland called Growing Up in Ireland:
    - Almost three-quarters of 9 year olds are very healthy, with no health problems
    - 25% of 9 year olds do 60 minutes of physical activity a day (2009)
    - 97% of 9-year-olds play sport at least once a week. Almost two-thirds of boys and over half of girls play sport every day (2009)
    - Over 90% of 13 year olds have never smoked (2012)
    - 15% of 13 year olds have tried alcohol (2012)


What children and young people are saying

  • “Children need to go to school and children needs to go to doctors when they’re sick.” – Wonu (11)

    “Everybody should have a right to healthcare. Everybody has the right to … get the same treatment no matter who you are. They shouldn’t have to die from an illness that’s easily curable. It’s not just about curing diseases, it’s also about preventing them.”

  • Jigsaw, is a network of programmes designed by Headstrong to make sure every young person has somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to. We spoke to the Youth Advisory Panel of Jigsaw Kerry about their lives and their involvement with Jigsaw.

    You can hear more from children and young people on the free It’s Your Right iPad app!

  • Children and young people share their views on children’s rights to survive and develop

Find out more

  • Children in Hospital Ireland – Find out more about what hospital can be like from Children in Hospital Ireland
  • Stepping up- Stepping Up provides information for young people with long-term illnesses on moving to adult healthcare services
  • Headstrong – Headstrong works in the area of young people’s mental health. Find out more about Headstrong’s activities and services.
  • Barnardos- Information for young people on taking care of your well-being is available from Barnardos
  • Safe Food- Take a look at the food pyramid and find out more about healthy eating from Safe Food.
  • Active School Flag – Find out more about the Active School Flag project

Explore More – Resource materials for Teachers & Educators

  • Healthpromotion.ie – Information and resources that can support work to encourage health-promoting behaviours among children and young people.
  • UNICEF Ireland – ‘Health’ and ‘Drugs & Alcohol’. Discussion points and images for young people to explore a number of health-related questions. In Picture Your Rights (2015), pp.3-4.
  • Citizens Information Board – ‘European Health Insurance Card’. Activity for young people on the entitlement to public health care when visiting an EU member State. In Rights and Entitlements for Young People (2010), pp.154-155.
  • Reach Out – Building Resiliency in Young People is a resource to support young people’s development of resiliency skills (2012).
  • Cycle Against Suicide – Information on how schools and students can get involved in the schools programmes run by Cycle Against Suicide.
  • World’s Largest Lesson – A range of resources to support children and young people of different ages to learn about and take action relating to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which include a goal to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being (Goal 3).
  • Concern – ‘Hurdles in Access to Treatment’. Activity and accompanying video for young people about access to treatment for people with HIV/Aids. In Cause and Effect: 4 Stories on HIV and Aids (2012) pp.46-49.