Belfast Telegraph

Welfare reforms under the spotlight as researchers follow thousands of older people over next 15 years

By Anna Maguire

Researchers will follow thousands of older people over the next 15 years to gauge the impact of welfare and healthcare reforms.

Around 8,500 people from across Northern Ireland aged 50 and over will take part in the project, led by Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster.

With a sweeping shake-up of welfare being debated – and reforms to the health system through the Transforming Your Care programme – the study will show how societal shifts will affect older people here.

The participants will undergo health checks every four years and complete biannual surveys regarding pension changes, the effects of the Troubles, benefit reform and healthcare reform.

It is one of the collaborations between local universities which featured in a higher education showcase at Stormont yesterday.

Frank Kee, director of Queen's UK CRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland, said: "The study is happening across Northern Ireland, England and the Republic to try and find out what it takes to remain independent when you are aged 50 plus."

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