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Belfast Trust must take on board concerns in mental health ward merger

1 December, 2009 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin MLA and deputy chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill has expressed concern at the decision by the Belfast Health Trust to treat vulnerable men and women with mental health problems together in Knockbracken

Speaking today Ms O’Neill said:

“The decision to merge two single sex wards into one ward in Knockbracken healthcare centre is extremely concerning.  

“Certainly this a U-turn on current best practice, which is moving more and more towards single sex wards.

“People who present to this ward are already vulnerable adults. To further expose them to the risk of extra contributory factors that may very well arise as a result of this forced integration is a serious worry.

“The Belfast Trust needs to consult and listen to very carefully to those who use the wards, their families, and past patients to understand the anxieties out there with regards to this move.

“This appears to be a measure to save money rather than putting the patient’s needs first and it is a move that is avoidable. What we are seeing is a not what can be called an efficiency saving but a way to save money.  Efficiency means that a service is provided at a better level of quality and competence, not a cut back of services.”

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