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Sinn Féin welcome review of Knockbracken ward merge

11 December, 2009 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin MLA and deputy chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill has welcomed the decision by the Belfast Health Trust to review their decision to treat vulnerable men and women with mental health problems together in a single ward in Knockbracken

Speaking today Ms O’Neill said:

“The decision to merge two single sex wards into one ward in Knockbracken healthcare centre was extremely concerning and these concerns were expressed by a number of groups, but especially those who are directly affected including patients and their families.

“Current best practice is moving more and more towards single sex wards so I don’t see how the Belfast Trust could justify making this initial decision and I welcome this review.

“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 would be a serious worry.

“The Belfast Trust now 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 and seek to address them.

“This initial decision 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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