Mourne’s Councillor Harold McKeen welcomes the use of army medical personnel to assist hard pressed medical staff in local hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mourne’s Councillor Councillor Harold McKee, has welcomed the call for the Army to assist the NHS in battling the Covid-19 epidemic in Northern Ireland writes Laura Barr.
Last week, Health Minister Robin Swann requested that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) help out at a number of hospitals across the North.
It is understood that 100 medically trained military personnel will be deployed to ease pressure on over-worked NHS staff.
Cllr McKee who spent 15 days in the Royal Victoria Hospital in August said that NHS staff must be praised for doing a “tremendous job in saving lives in relation to Covid-19 and many other illnesses.
“When I see the work the doctors and nurses are doing under tremendous pressure I am sure they are glad to have the army assisting.”
Cllr McKee said he was outraged at Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan’s response to the Health Minister’s decision.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the television when MLA Pat Sheehan told the Health Committee that his only concern was that they, the military medics, do not get in the way of the real professionals who are doing the work to save lives.
“This sounded to me as though the professional army medics have not got a clue as to what is involved in trying to help people.”
In addition, Mr McKee commented that he was “disappointed” to read of UNISON’s message which sought a detailed reason for the decision, demanding to see information in relation to staffing pressures.
“As far as I was concerned, if a trade union the size of Unison was still questioning the need for assistance when the NHS are almost at breaking point, then how bad must it have to be before they listen to their own members?
“With the fallout from this statement, it was no wonder UNISON Secretary Patricia McKeown issued an apology stating that they had posted a ‘badly worded response to the Minister’s announcement’.
“Whether this was a badly worded statement or just taken out of context, I would add that no one should try to undermine or interfere with who is working in our hospitals, residential homes, community care or in the ambulance service during this very stressful time.
“While I was in the Royal Victoria Hospital as a patient last year I never once questioned who the doctor or nurse was who was attending to me.
“I never wondered who they were, what country they came from, what religion they were or which organisation they worked for.
“All I wanted was to get healed and get home and thankfully that is what happened.
“The NHS need to be praised for the work they have done and continue to do in the fight against Covid-19.”