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Sinn Féin seek urgent guarantees from Minister over staffing at Mid Ulster Hospital

7 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Michelle O'Neill, who is the deputy chair of the Assembly Health Committee, has called on the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to give guarantees that there will be no repeat of the staffing shortages that forced the Mid Ulster Hospital to close its Accident and Emergency Unit at 5 pm on Friday and over the weekend.

Ms O'Neill has tabled a Private Notice Question to Michael McGimpsey that should be answered later today, Monday 7th April, in the Assembly.

Ms O'Neill said:

"The decision to close the Mid A & E department at 5 pm on Friday night, instead of 11 pm could have had fatal consequences.

"The last minute nature of the decision and the almost casual approach to ensuring adequate staffing levels are in place to allow the unit to remain open until 11 pm has caused huge concern locally.

"It feeds into the broader concern that there are plans within the Health Department to close this unit by stealth. We need urgent assurances from the Health Minister that staffing shortages will be addressed so that the A & E unit will be open until 11 pm tonight." ENDS

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