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Orthopaedic Services announcement a 'mixed bag'

30 January, 2007

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Cllr John O'Dowd has said that today's announcement by direct-rule health minister, Paul Goggins, to provide investment in trauma and orthopaedic services for the North is something of a mixed bag.

Cllr O'Dowd said,

"On one hand, the health minister's announcement to invest £15 million in creating a new Trauma and Orthopaedic unit at Craigavon Area Hospital which will open its doors later this year is indeed welcome. This is particularly true as Craigavon hospital is now catering for a far wider catchments area than ever was envisaged when it was originally designed and built.

"The minister states that this announcement is part of a commitment to ensuring a Six County-wide reduction in waiting times for fracture and orthopaedic services so at most patients will receive their fracture treatment within 48 hours by March of next year.

"However, that commitment is somewhat undermined by the minister's inability to detail exactly when a second such Trauma and Orthopaedic Unit will be created at Antrim hospital. The minister's own statement that a second such unit will be developed 'within the next few years' is not entirely convincing. If have no doubt that health professionals and service users would like to see a more substantial and definitive statement from Paul
Goggins in relation to this second unit, rather than the type of vague announcement which he made today." ENDS

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