Sinn Féin - On Your Side

O'Dowd says legislative change must not provide a back-door to health service privatisation

16 January, 2007

Sinn Féin health spokesperson John O'Dowd, has said that his party will be submitting a comprehensive response to the consultation on the Health and Social Services (Reform) Order 2007, which was announced today by direct-rule minister, Paul Goggins.

Mr O'Dowd said,

"There is absolutely no doubt that the changes being proposed will have far-reaching effects on the health service in the North. I feel it is important that any proposed changes create a patient and user centred service to ensure the best possible treatment within the shortest possible time.

"However, I would prefer if the matter was being dealt with by a local assembly as there is a danger that the British government will seek to use these legislative changes to allow an increased role for the private sector within the health service. Increased privatisation of the health service was publicly alluded to by the previous direct-rule health minister, Shaun Woodward, before he left office and it is a policy which Sinn Fein would strenuously oppose.

"During the consultation period, Sinn Féin will be meeting with health service trades unions and professional bodies, along with patient and user groups, to ensure that the needs of those working in the health service, and equally importantly, the needs of those who use the health service are adequately met." ENDS

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