Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on health minister Edwin Poots to reconsider his decision not to build a new health centre in Derry.
Ms McLaughlin made the call after the minister announced new health centres for Newry and Lisburn. It had been expected that a new state of the art health centre, which would include a number of health facilities under one roof, would be built in the Creggan Burn Park area of Derry instead.
The Foyle MLA said there is a clear need for such a facility in Derry. “This announcement does not do anything to tackle the health inequality that exists in Foyle. All of the evidence clears points to the fact that the top three areas of identified need are found in West Belfast, North Belfast and Foyle,” she said.
Ms McLaughlin also said the move does not appear to fit with current health service policy. “If the Transforming Your Care strategy is serious about moving from acute to primary and community health care then we need the infrastructure to do it,” she added.
The Sinn Féin Assembly member also said she would raise the matter with the minister. “If the need exists in Lisburn and Newry then they should get the facilities of course but from the clear, evidence based results available it does not appear that the need exists,” she said.
Karen Mullan from the Pink Ladies cancer support group said; “We are disappointed that Derry was being removed from the plans to get a new health hub. Cancer deaths in Derry are higher than in the other two areas getting the new centres and as we all know early detection, awareness alongside prompt referrals and diagnosis save lives. Current facilities are not adequate to meet the need and demand in this city and improve the long term health inequalities that exist.
“We would urge the Minister to review his plans and budget and include Derry in this round of new health hub developments.”