McGimpsey fails to tackle swine flu – O’Neill
Sinn Féin MLA and deputy chair of the health committee Michelle O’Neill has stated there are serious concerns to the Ministers approach given that the swine flu mortality figures are only two below the total figure of last years pandemic and dismissed the argument that figures are proportionate to deaths in Britain.
Speaking today following the Health Committee meeting Ms O’Neill said:
“There are serious concerns with regards to the Ministers approach to the swine flu crisis that is currently hitting the north.
“At this stage we are only two deaths away from reaching the total figure of last year with a further 4 children and 30 adults in a critical condition. Last year the crisis was called a pandemic. This year, with similar figures, the response from the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, and the department is well below satisfactory.
“While the Health Minister has been absent from commenting on swine flu, those in the Public Health Agency are telling us that policies have changed as they are taking their lead from the British Joint Committee and that the crisis here is proportionate to Britain.
“Clearly with a population of 1.5m and seventeen deaths, if that were to be rolled out across Britain's population of 60m the figure would reach close to 680 deaths. That is not proportionate.
“Given this and the fact that health is a devolved matter those responsible, with the Minister to the fore, need to stop taking the lead of the Joint Committee and devise an effective programme to get to grips with swine flu within the North. The absence of such an approach shows how much the Minister has failed to tackle this crisis.”