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75% of nursing staff at St. Luke’s under threat - Boylan

1 December, 2008 - by Cathal Boylan

Sinn Féin Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan has said that 75% of nursing staff at St Luke's Hospital are under threat and he has called on all local stake holders, family members and the general public to fully participate in the 12 week consultation period which starts on the 10th of December.

Mr Boylan voiced his concerns after responses to a number of questions he asked the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, about the reduction in services at the St. Luke's hospital site in Armagh City.

Mr Boylan said:

"The Minister has confirmed that the Trust is proposing to resettle 60 patients from Villas 1 and 2 at St Luke's to residential homes, nursing homes and supported living units. While he claims that no decision will be made before the end of the consultation period many patients, their families and staff believe the proposals as they stand will go ahead regardless.

"The Health Minister does not offer much hope to the patients and dedicated staff of St. Luke's. Many of the people on the wards are long term residents. There may be a very negative impact on a number of them if they are forced leave surroundings that are safe and secure to them. As for the nursing and support staff, it is very a worrying and stressful time. In the current economic climate and the lack of employment opportunities in Armagh City and District no one can blame them for believing the outlook is bleak.

"The Minister has also confirmed that the proposals will effect 75% of the nursing staff on site and that a reduction or redeployment of 82 qualified nursing staff is inevitable.

"He was unable to say what effect the proposals would have on the 133 support services staff except to say that it was planned to have area-wide specialist mental health teams on the St. Luke's site to include teams for Personality Disorders, Addictions and Forensic Mental Health. As the site already has a number of existing Management and support services, such as the Trusts payroll function, it is hoped to enhance such services in the future.

"It is vital that people make their voices heard and raise their concerns. I would ask everyone to engage with the consultation process and try and reverse some of the proposals being put forward for the good of the patients and staff." ENDS

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