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Need for specialist services for women and children at the Royal – Sinn Féin

19 March, 2009 - by Jennifer McCann, Sue Ramsey, Cathal Ó hOisín


Sinn Féin MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsey have said that the Health Minister’s decision about the future of the Lagan Valley hospital reinforces the need for the new regional hospital for women and children to be commenced at the site of the Royal as a matter of urgency:

Speaking today the MLA’s said,

“The decision by the Health Minister means that there will be reduced capacity at Lagan Valley. That is consistent with the pattern in recent time whereby the health service is moving towards a framework hinging upon centres of excellence to provide a hub for provision of health care, particularly where specialist services are required.”

“The gravitational pull in maternity provision is already towards the Royal. The integration of specialist services for women and children at the Royal is already accepted. However, the Health Minister himself admitted in the Assembly last November that the present facilities at the Royal are “not fit for purpose” and that building the new hospital is a priority.”

“The decision about Lagan Valley does not move this forward. Last November, the Assembly unanimously supported a motion tabled by West Belfast MP Gerry Adams calling for the new regional hospital for women and children to be built. However, if the Department of Health adheres to its present approach, outlying capacity at hospitals such as Lagan Valley will continue to be reduced whilst the centre of excellence required at the Royal will remain aspirational for another decade. That is a recipe for crisis in maternity services.

“The Minister for Health needs to bring this matter before the Executive and seek to make the regional hospital for women and children a special priority.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR: Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsey are both MLA’s for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann is the party spokesperson on women’s issues and Sue Ramsey is the spokesperson for children and young people, she is also a member of the health committee.

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