Clarke reiterates support for all-island approach to children’s cardiac services

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Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Alliance South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has reiterated his support for an all-island approach to children’s cardiac services – as long as some level of service in Belfast is included.

Councillor Clarke

The Alliance Councillor was speaking after the Health Minister announced his department will carry out a review into the future of the service in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Clarke told Newry Times, “This issue needs urgent attention and I welcome the review announced by the Minister. I know that this will be the most difficult option to achieve, so we do not underestimate the challenge that it poses. “While the announcement is a welcome development, I am disappointed that it has taken the Health Minister over 12 months to announce that a review will be carried out. Many will have believed this review was already underway and I have to question why this could not have been announced any time in the past year. What caused such a delay? “If it has taken him 12 months to announce a review that will last a further six months, I have to question where this issue comes in his list of priorities,” Clarke insisted. “It has been clear for a number of years that the current services at Belfast would no longer be sustainable, so why did the Health Service not put into place a term succession plan when this became apparent? “The previous Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, also has questions to answer why he did act when he was in power to ensure the sustainability of these services. “Following the retirement of Belfast’s lead surgeon, the Minister must ensure that the interim arrangements are adequate,” Clarke added.
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