Minister ‘failing’ Mid Ulster people on ‘basic health provisions’

Health Minister failing Mid Ulster
Health Minister failing Mid Ulster

The Minister for Health is ‘failing’ Mid Ulster people on ‘basic health provisions’, such as a prompt ambulances in life or death situations.

With the worst emergency response times, people living in the area are the worst ‘cared for’ in the whole of Northern Ireland according to information from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency [NISRA].

In 2013, the average response time in Mid Ulster was 9 minutes 41 seconds, a figure which has risen every year since 2009, and over two minutes longer than Northern Ireland Ambulance Service’s average of 7 minutes and 16 seconds.

But in a report given to Mid Ulster Council, it was suggested that, as with journey times to A&E, response times are likely be even higher in more rural parts of the district.

Mid Ulster UUP councillor Mark Glasgow has called on the Health Minister to stop failing people in the area.

“The Health Minister needs to come outside of Belfast and actually see what is going on in Mid Ulster,” he said.

“The Minister is constantly ignoring the facts and figures, and the concerns of the people of Mid Ulster... he has failed on the basic health provisions.”

A DHSSPS spokesperson said: “Providing a speedy ambulance response is more challenging in rural areas due to the distances involved and the spread of calls over a wider area.

“The Department has worked with NIAS for many years to improve ambulance response times in rural areas.

“Additional deployment points have been provided, along with Rapid Response Vehicles.

“The Department has asked the Health and Social Care Board to work with NIAS to improve emergency response times. The Board has allocated £775,000 in 2015/16 and £1.077m recurrently from 2016/17 to NIAS. This funding is being applied to improve performance in the Northern, Southern and South Eastern areas.”