Ritchie welcomes commitment by PAC to review A&E doctor procurement practices

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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed a commitment from the Public Accounts Committee that it will consider her request to re-visit the procurement policies of health trusts and the way they recruit doctors. Ritchie revealed the assurance came after a request was made on her behalf by SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee. He said the action received the unanimous endorsement of the whole committee. Seaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “There is an acknowledgment that the recent crisis at the Royal’s A&E department makes this imperative, and that is to be welcomed. “In my belief, there has been a grave failure by the Trusts, including the South Eastern Health Trust, to robustly recruit middle-grade doctors working in A&E departments. “With the dilution of A&E services in a number of hospitals in the north, including the Downe Hospital in my own constituency, we have seen local people denied local access to local services. We’ve been told by the Trust a shortage of doctors is making the Downe Hospital unsustainable. That is not good enough. Ritchie added, “I hope the Public Accounts Committee take seriously my request that procurement policies of health trusts will be revisited to focus on the procurement practices used for the recruitment of doctors.”
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