Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Feely calls for cross-border healthcare provision to secure more services locally.

Published: 22 April, 2016

Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Assembly candidate, John Feely, is calling for the proper implementation of 'Transforming Your Care' and the development of more regional solutions to hospital care.

Mr Feely said,

"The 'Transforming Your Care' initiative introduced in the last Assembly mandate has been an abject failure. Too many resources have been taken up in the various health trusts, the health board and the Public Health Authority. These resources are being taken away from the patients and frontline staff where they are needed the most.

"For 'Transforming Your Care' to work more healthcare services need to be based locally in GP surgeries and health centres. We need to recruit 500 more GPs in the next 5 years if this is to be a reality. What we are seeing is that some of our rural surgeries are actually shutting down due to a lack of GPs, so how are we to develop these services locally if we don't have the GPs to fill the posts?

"Medical students are increasingly opting to pursue careers in other areas of medicine and we have to address the reasons why this is happening so that we have a sustainable and accessible health provision.

"Whilst we need to be developing our GP surgeries and health centres to provide more services that do not need to be carried out in hospitals we also need to strengthen our local hospital services.

"We have a fantastic new hospital in Enniskillen ready to be utilised by all residents in our region and if we were using this on a cross-border basis it would secure more services for us locally.

"Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim have minimal cancer services with people having to travel to Galway or Cavan General to access services. Similarly, cancer patients in Fermanagh South Tyrone have to make journeys to Derry or Belfast. There is certainly a case here for a regional cross-border centre.

"Likewise, if you suffer a heart attack or a stroke, you should be able to get the vital, lifesaving care you need in the nearest available hospital.

"We are seeing increasing numbers of people travelling huge round trip distances to access even simple services such as tests or examinations. This should not be how a caring society works, where our sick people are having to travel these distances for healthcare.

"The Health Trusts' vision should not stop at the border and neither should it start there. "Sinn Féin will continue to strive to ensure a broader vision for healthcare throughout the region to ensure that patients are central to our healthcare provision."