Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Urgent action now required following damning Sperrin Lakeland Trust Report

20 May, 2005

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has said that the resignation of Sperrin Lakeland Chief Executive Hugh Mills is long overdue because the local community has lost trust in the body over it's failure to develop and protect services at the Tyrone County Hospital and called for that urgent action to redress the situation.

Mr Doherty said:

"The damning Risk Assessment report from the NHS Clinical Support Team into Sperrin Lakeland Trust and the statement of "deep concern" from the NIO Health Minister Shaun Woodward about the Trust's mismanagement of affairs at the Tyrone County and Erne hospitals undoubtedly forced Hugh Mills to resign before he was pushed.

"However, the local community has long since lost trust in Hugh Mills and the Sperrin Lakeland Trust over its abject failure to secure resources to maintain services at Tyrone County. The scale of mismanagement is such that many in the local community are convinced that the Trust was actively working to downgrade services at the Tyrone County.

"I understand that the NHS Clinical Support Team Report is both critical of Hugh Mills for mismanagement of resources but also for failing to secure additional resources.

"The findings in the Report substantiate the case that I and other elected representatives have been making to the former NIO Health Minister Angela Smith, and to the Western Health and Social Services Board.

"I wrote to Shaun Woodward on the 13th May seeking an urgent meeting in regards to the deteriorating situation at the Tyrone County and in light of this damning report I will be seeking urgent action to be taken redress the situation.

Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew added:

"People in Fermanagh and Tyrone deserve access to a first class health service. Sinn Fein will be working to ensure that key issues such as inadequate staffing levels and the need for service development not service destruction are addressed.

"This report in itself and the response to it need to look at the far wider issues. The only way that the Trust, the Health Board and the department can begin to restore confidence is through an independent inquiry. The challenge to the department, the board and trust is in how they collectively address the problems of under resources, under staffing and mismanagement. The priority must be to invest in service provision and staffing to restore confidence in the services provided at the Tyrone County and Erne Hospitals.

"I now welcome the fact that new NIO Health Minister Shaun Woodward has now officially acknowledged that there is a major problem and that action must now be taken to ensure that patients are put first." ENDS

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