[Sinn Fein]

11 December 2000

Future of Acute Hospital Services - Quality services should mean accessible services

Sinn Fein Health Committee member, West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey, Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Michelle Gildernew and Chairperson of the Sinn Fein Health Policy Group, Sinn Fein Balmoral representative Stephen Long today publicly launched the party submission to the Hayes Acute Hospital Review Group.

Speaking at the launch Sue Ramsey said:

``Sinn Fein welcome the enlightened remit of the review. It is neither Board or Boundary based and has scope to examine the benefits of co-operation with other parts of Ireland.

``The legacy of underfunding by successive British governments needs to be highlighted by the Hayes Review. The review cannot be resource neutral.

``For too long there has been a piecemeal approach to planning. We have seen the withdrawal of hospitals services, which is impacting on rural areas. It is time for the development of a comprehensive strategic framework for the development of our acute services.

Michelle Gildernew added:

``Many of the inequalities in the provision of acute care are a direct result of the fragmentation of planning. The present structure and limitations in overseeing planning and delivery means there can be no overall strategic approach.

``An inaccessible service is not a quality service. Quality services should mean accessible services. Just as targets for waiting lists have been developed we need to develop targets for accessibility.

``Clearly there is a problem with the use of quotas to govern clinical standards. The removal of services from the South Tyrone Hospital demonstrates that the operation of quotas is detrimental to the accessible delivery of services.

Concluding Stephen Long said:

``Our key recommendations include:

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