Friday, 24 September 2010

Health woes

Michael McGimpsey has had to apologise for inaccurate comments he made to the Assembly concerning the Donagh child abuse case.  On Tuesday in his normal patronising tone he'd explained to Arlene Foster, DETI Minister, that:

"Because this individual has “Doctor” in front of his name, it is assumed that he works for the Trust and, therefore, spoke on behalf of the Trust, and everyone is attacking the social worker and the Trust. However, that is not the situation..."

Yet yesterday he admitted this was inaccurate explaining he had mixed up two doctors partially because of the demands of the health post.  However, this may not be the only issue that arises from Tuesday (pdf file).  In an adjournment debate of the issue of Lagan Valley hospital

"I add my appreciation of the staff of the hospital and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, who are committed to providing high quality health and social care to people in their community."

He emphasised his approach to health care as:

"I continually say that quality plus safety equals outcome plus efficiency. Quality and safety are always paramount in our minds."

During ministerial questions he went on to warn that because of budget issues:

"...there will no longer be a British health service in Northern Ireland"

However, a front page story in the Newtownards Chronicle (not online) puts his quality and standard of service comments into focus. 

It revealed that the South Eastern Trust rents property from a Company of which the Health Minister is a Director (NB This directorship is declared on the register of interests).  It also detailed two problems with one of the rented buildings (39 Regent Street) - heating and only partial disability access.  A staff member commented that:

"The building is not well-maintained. We don't feel very well treated."

The UUP declined to comment on the story.  His brother and fellow Director, Christopher McGimpsey, said they had only been informed of the heating issues a week ago and the Trust knew about the access issues when they signed the lease.  He said his brother was not involved in the day to day running of the Company.  The paper highlighted how the most recent accounts lodged with the Companies House were signed by the Health minister.

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