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Sinn Féin demand action to tackle heath inequalities

6 October, 2006

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, John O'Dowd MLA, commenting on the launch of a new consultation aimed at promoting equality and human rights within the health and social care system announced by British direct-rule health minister Paul Goggins has said that the current approach of the Health department will only reinforce health inequalities.

Mr O‚Dowd said:

"Sinn Féin will be submitting a comprehensive response to this consultation. In particular, Sinn Féin will be focusing upon the major inequalities in health which the policies of successive direct-rule ministers have created for people living in rural communities across the Six Counties.

"Rural communities throughout the North and, more so, those communities west of the Bann have witnessed a gradual erosion of health services within their areas under direct-rule. It is becoming more and more obvious that direct-rule ministers are adopting policies in relation to the delivery of essential health services which are increasingly urban-based and are fashioned around the failed agenda of the so-called "Golden Six".

"The right to good and effective healthcare and access to health services are important rights which many within our rural communities value. Unfortunately, British direct-rule ministers appear to put less value on the rights of these rural communities. Paul Goggins and his senior officials within the Department of Health would do well to learn the meaning of equality and to also learn how real equality of access to first-class health care can be effectively implemented for our rural communities." ENDS

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