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Tough Questions for New Health Minster

17 May, 2007


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín has said that there are a number of tough questions facing the new Health Minster Michael McGimpsey.

Speaking after the first meeting of the Assembly Health Committee Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"While the response of Michael to the Health debates this week on free prescription charges, a shared Sinn Fein and UUP manifesto commitment, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and on children being cared for by the state was very positive there are a number of very tough issues for the new Minster.

"One of Sinn Féin primary focuses on the Health committee will be to ensure the reinvigoration of Bairbre de Brún's internationally acclaimed 'Investing for Health' public health strategy. We need to know if the 2002 targets were met and when are we going to get a review of 'Investing for Health'; will it be time-bound and who will carry out the review?

"I am also sure that given what has been happening with our mental health services that people will want to know exactly what steps have been taken to secure the promised Mental Health Commissioner?

"I think that many people will also be looking to see how the department is going to cap private sector involvement in the provision of public health and that many within the Health Service will be concerned that the department not given guarantees to staff regarding compulsory redundancies.?

"Given that the NHS has prided itself on the provision of health for all from the cradle to the grave the serious question must be asked - Why is the comprehensive spending review going to cut services and ultimately affect those in most need, such as those living in residential homes?." ENDS

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