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Sinn Féin share Coroner's concerns over Royal Hospital death

19 November, 2004

Sinn Féin health spokesperson John O'Dowd MLA says that he shares concerns expressed by Belfast coroner, John Leckey, regarding the death of Janine Murtagh in the Royal Maternity Hospital two years ago.

Mr O'Dowd said, "Quite clearly there appears to have been a systems failure in several important areas which contributed to this avoidable and tragic death. More importantly, issues were raised during the inquest which suggested that consultant surgeons were being obstructed in ensuring that theatres were available for patients in need of necessary surgery and care. This is a matter of major concern and one which must be addressed in an open and transparent manner.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson continued, "I welcome the fact that Royal Hospital is already committed to modifying its procedures in order to prevent any re-occurrence of this tragedy. However, I believe that the NIO minister, Angela Smith, should also take steps to ensure that proper and effective procedures are put into place right across the Six Counties to ensure nothing like this will happen again at any hospital. Central to ensuring this, of course, will be the provision of adequate financial and personnel resources to guarantee that decisions within the health service are based on patient need and medical requirements, rather than the situation at present where budgetary and financial constraints seem to play an increasing role." ENDS

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