[Sinn Fein]

9th January 2002

Call for collective response to health needs

Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, Mid-Ulster MLA John Kelly has re-iterated calls for the First and Deputy First Ministers, the Finance and Personnel Minister and the Health Minister to jointly meet with the Assembly Health committee to discuss the critical state of funding for the Health Service.

Mr Kelly said:

"It is time that those with a responsibility for the critical state of funding for the Health Service came and sat down with the Assembly Health Committee. David Trimble, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren and Bairbre de Brun need to convince us that they will pull together to address this critical issue. It is test for the Executive.

"Other political parties specifically shied away from taking this challenging Executive brief but we need to move beyond sectional interests if we are going to tackle the difficulties facing our Health Service. We all need to stand up play our part in rescuing a health service from 20 years of neglect.

"It is not just a question of cancer services in need today, orthopaedics tomorrow and cardiac services the next - or even a question of services in Craigavon or Belfast. Unless we tackle this in the context of a Health Service that is seamless and refuse to take a sectional approach then we will never tackle the problems facing our Health Service.

"I would also urge all workers within the Health Service - doctors, nurses and the professions allied to medicine - to come together and bring their case to the Executive. It is time to move beyond sectional bickering." ENDS

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