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Sinn Féin raise provision of Women’s and Children’s hospital with Belfast Trust

24 November, 2008 - by Carál Ní Chuilín, Sue Ramsey

Sinn Féin Belfast MLA's Sue Ramsey and Carál Ní Chuilín have met today with the Belfast Trust as part of the Trusts 'New Directions' exercise and consultation process .

Speaking after the meeting Ms Ramsey said:

"This was a very positive meeting. As MLA's we were able to express our concerns but also offer ways to assist the Trust, while for their part they were able to provide valuable up to date information.

"We discussed a range of items including the pressing need for movement from the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, to bring forward plans for a new Women's and Children's Unit in the Royal Hospital.

"This is an issue, that while it continues, will affect thousands on new and expecting mothers and their children.

"There were also serious concerns about the levels of potential investment from the Department of Health in the overall Belfast Trust hospitals estate and acute services

The main building in Musgrave Park Hospital and the City Hospital Tower block are over 40 years old and also in need of modernisation. This is not to mention the constant upkeep of current buildings as money is being sought to update the infrastructure.

Acute services must also be expanded in order to provide new and expanded mental health care in line with the Bamford reviews recommendations. So far we a re behind in this and more needs to be done.

"While many of the issues raised are legacy issues, resulting from a massive under spend during British direct rule, the onus is now on Michael McGimpsey as Health Minister to balance his budget effectively in order improve hospital care in Belfast and to source new monies that can help bring our health service into the 21st century."

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