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Health Minister’s first priority must be to ensure patient safety - Dobson

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has welcomed Jim Wells as the new Health Minister and called on him to get to grips with the biggest funding crisis Northern Ireland’s health service has seen in recent history.

The Upper Bann MLA said;

“Northern Ireland’s health service is in a state of flux – former Minister Edwin Poots’ policy of Transforming Your Care has stalled, there is a crisis in our A&Es, staff morale is at an all-time low with a very real possibility of major industrial action, and most worryingly of all there is an unprecedented crisis in the Department’s Budget.

“It was simply unacceptable that Edwin Poots waited until the last year of a four year budget to announce that he did not have enough funding. My Party warned in 2011 that there was a crisis looming, unfortunately Edwin Poots waited until it was almost too late before speaking out.

“Also, are we really to believe that Edwin Poots’ shock announcement earlier in the afternoon that an international panel has found children’s surgical cardiac services in Belfast to be unsustainable was in no way connected to his impending sacking? The Minister took the unparalleled step of making such an important announcement in response to being asked a planted question by a party colleague in the Assembly Chamber, without consulting the families or the charities involved. It was a rather inconsiderate move in his final hours.   

“On a personal note I welcome Jim Wells to his new post and I look forward to working with him over the months to come. I especially hope he will give my campaign to revolutionise organ donation the support which so many others already have.”

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Ulster Unionists