The Western Trust has admitted it has sent children outside Northern Ireland for treatment following anger that one Derry child has allegedly spent several years away from his family in England.
The Trust has been unable to give an immediate detailed breakdown regarding the numbers and ages of children who have been sent away from Northern Ireland over the past decade, but has confirmed that they had been sent away for “specialist treatment”.
A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust told the Journal: “A small number of children from the Western Trust area with complex needs are placed, with the agreement of the Health and Social Care Board, outside Northern Ireland to receive specialist treatment.
“The Trust regularly reviews their situation and facilitates a return to their families /communities at the earliest opportunity, in accordance with their agreed care plan.”
One woman however contacted the Journal to raise concerns over the matter and referred to the issue as “Derry’s shame”.
The woman said she knew a Derry family whose child has spent several years away from his family in England.
The woman said it made no sense that health authorities were paying for relatives of children to travel and stay in England so they could see them on a regular basis, yet could not fund a facility to keep those same children here.
The woman said: “I think it is Derry’s shame and I think it needs to be highlighted. Why can’t the authorities look after them in their own country where they can be close to their family?
“These children should be brought home and there are plenty of carers in Derry.
“It’s terrible, it’s absolutely awful.”