The Down Community Health Committee Calls On MLAs To Back Local Healthcare
In advance of the Down Community Health Committee’s meeting on Thursday night 12th May at 7.30pm in Denvir’s Hotel in Downpatrick, which will be attended by Mrs Roisin Coulter, Chief Executive of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, and in the wake of the recent Assembly Election, the Down Community Health Committee has called on the newly elected MLAs to ensure that the future of local healthcare provision across the country will be at the top of the political agenda in the next Programme for Government.
A spokesperson for the Down Community Health Committee, said: “It is essential that an Executive is formed very quickly so that the task of rebuilding a health service focused on the needs and demands of the people can be met.
“There is a clear need for the politicians to bring certainty to the funding available to the NHS generally and for essential reform, in particular.
“Everyone agrees that there is a need for Health Service reform. That presents many challenges, but its also presents great opportunities to address healthcare inequalities generally and especially those arising due to the discrimination against rural communities, as a consequence of the undue concentration of services in Belfast.
“The time has comes to end the relentless and flawed centralisation of services, a policy that has greatly contributed to the decline of the NHS, in conjunction with the massive under-resourcing of healthcare by successive governments.
“For change to be accepted, it must be co-designed with local communities and the incoming Health Minister, of whatever party, must make this a mandatory requirement in all decision-making.”
The spokesperson added: “It is essential that the Health Minister for the next Assembly term signals a clear intent to deliver change.
“What better signal could there be, on the traditional first day photo opportunity, than for the Minister to come down to have his photo taken at the Downe Hospital, rather than one of the overcrowded major hospital sites in Belfast? Who knows?
“Might the Minister not announce, at that time, the go-ahead for the much needed MRI scanner at the Downe Hospital, a project that is stuck in a capital expenditure queue in the Department of Health?
“We hope that the incoming Health Minister will give the same priority to direct engagement with local communities as the Department gives to the medical professionals unions and lobby groups. After all, it is the ordinary people, the taxpayers, who fund the NHS.”