Health department abdicating responsibility on no deal Bexit threat – Gildernew
Sinn Féin spokesperson for carers and wellbeing Colm Gildernew has accused the Department of Health (DoH) of abdicating its responsibility to inform the public about the real threat posed to health and social care in the case of a No Deal Brexit.
Speaking after receiving a long-awaited response from the department Mr Gildernew said, "The leading official on Brexit within the department has confirmed in a letter to me that No-Deal Brexit scenario plans developed by its arms length bodies will not be published.
"Despite the serious impact a No-Deal Brexit could have here on health and social care the department continue to choose not to make this information public.
"This is despite assurances I received at a meeting earlier this year that information concerning Brexit would be made available by the Department of Health to the public.
"The reluctance of the department to release publicly such important information is something i have encountered on an ongoing basis over the last year or more.
"It appears DoH's priority is with keeping London abreast of implications for services here, while keeping the people here who it will affect in the dark.
"There is also a feeling within the Health and Social Care sector that the department has been less than forthcoming on its plans for Brexit with stakeholders.
"Responsiveness to questions I have submitted regarding Brexit have been excessively slow, so much so that I have had to raise this directly with the Permanent Secretary for Health.
"In my view the Department is abdicating its responsibility to inform the public of the threats posed by Brexit and what preparations are being made to protect health and social care services in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.
"Meanwhile the very real threat of medicine shortages, severe workforce implications and the impact on cross-border health services looms large over a health and social care system already struggling to meet demands.
"The Department of Health must prioritise its responsibility to the people in the north of Ireland above that of their civil service masters in London.”