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33 critical with swine flu and where is the Minister McGimpsey? - O Neill

7 January, 2011 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin MLA and vice chair of the health committee Michelle O’Neill has accused the Health Minster Michael McGimpsey of ‘going missing on the job’ as the Health Service tries to tackle the re-emergence of Swine flu.

Speaking today Ms O’Neill said:

“At present there are 33 people in a critical condition as a result of swine flu in the north. Last month there were 185 people being treated for the virus. Yet the Health Minister went on his Christmas holidays and has remained silent. There has been no leadership from the top. It seems he has gone missing on the job.

“Last February the Minister assured the Assembly that there were still half a million swine flu jabs unused. What has the Minister and the Department been doing over the past year to ensure that these vaccines were used? It seems that once swine flu was out of the headlines any proactive course of action was simply placed on the long finger.

“There has been no public advertising campaign similar to the one in late 2009 and early 2010 to warn people of the dangers or indeed to consult with GP’s on how to access the vaccine and we are now seeing the result of this failure with significant extra pressures being put on a number of hospitals and a significant rise in trolley waits. This is unacceptable and the Minister needs to step forward and start giving answers to the many questions that are out there over his management of this situation.” ENDS

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