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Sinn Fein to press Woodward on West of the Bann Hospital services

18 July, 2005

Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd will lead a party
delegation, including Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew to meet
British direct rule Health Minster Shaun Woodward today, Monday 18th July,
at 6.15pm in Stormont Castle to press him for firm commitments and a clear
timetable to the development a hospital services \West of the Bann.

Speaking ahead of the meeting today Mr O'Dowd said:

"We will be raising a number of issues with the health minister in relation
to health service provision across the Six Counties. Of particular
importance will be the minister and the Department's intentions regarding
the future of accessible health service provision for people living west of
the Bann. Recent conflicting media accounts in relation to services for
Tyrone and Fermanagh have created a sense of uncertainty among many people
living there and we will be seeking to establish clarity in relation to

"Shaun Woodward has made a number of statements in recent weeks that will
have serious consequences for the delivery of hospital services West of the
Bann. We need to see firm commitments and a clear timetable to the
development a hospital services West of the Bann.

"It is also important that Mr Woodward understands fully the possible
implications of the proposed withdrawal of funding for hospitals, especially
where staff shortages and erosion of services is undermining performance, if
they fail to meet his new targets.

"The continuing failure to fill consultant posts and the failure to provide
key services such as anaesthetist cover is eroding service provision West of
the Bann. There are also serious and substantial shortfalls in the provision
of ambulance cover." ENDS

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