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Sinn Féin secures commitment on overhaul of fractures treatment

22 May, 2006


Sinn Féin Coleraine Councillor Billy Leonard has received an undertaking from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety that it will put significant extra money into, and totally redesign the systems dealing with emergency fracture patients.

Cllr Leonard hailed this commitment as a 'victory for common sense'.

Cllr Leonard had complained about an 84 year old Portstewart lady who had to wait six days before she was moved from the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine to Altnagelvin in Derry for an operation on her broken leg. Altnagelvin Trust gave a very open apology to the lady concerned.

At the time Councillor Leonard said that the system operated by the two hospitals had obviously let the lady down. He has now also confirmed that approximately 18% of similar patients waited more than the target of 48 hours for surgery in Altnagelvin during the period April 2005 to March 2006.

It is obvious that the Department of Health is admitting that failure and making wholesale changes that will be delivered within the next year.

Cllr Leonard said:

"Very obviously we had a system that didn't work and I complained to the Minister immediately. From that action the Department has now said it is working on a strategy that will totally redesign their approach and that 'significant investment' will be put into this sector.

"That is good news but the devil will be in the detail and obviously Sinn Féin will be very focused in their examination of the changes when formally announced. We cannot have a system that regularly fails the likes of this 84-year old lady and 18 % of similar patients.

"The trauma of the original injury is bad enough but to add the trauma of a lengthy wait is unacceptable.

"We will see if the promise of significant investment is delivered and we will also look for a new system that is based on patient need and common sense, not one that was based on contractual obligations that could not be met. People, not a bureaucratic system, must be paramount." ENDS

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