Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


17 May 2007


The Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee met for the first time today.

The Committee, chaired by Mrs Iris Robinson MP, questioned Dr Andrew McCormick, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Permanent Secretary, on the key issues and challenges facing the Department.

Dr McCormick informed the Committee that the Department’s key objective was to deliver real change by putting the community first, emphasising the importance of early intervention in health matters and the establishment of patient centred services.

The Committee Chair questioned the officials on the current difficulties with the new recruitment process for junior doctors. Acknowledging these difficulties, Dr McCormick described the changes made to the process since early April to address these problems and to ensure that all applicants for posts are interviewed and treated fairly. The Department officials assured the Committee that the Department recognised the importance of treating people with disabilities and non-physical illnesses in the community and of avoiding the need for hospitalisation.

The Committee agreed to develop a schedule of outside visits and a regular rota of informal meetings with key groups.

The Committee will meet regularly at 2.30pm on Thursdays in room 135, Parliament Buildings.

Note to Editor:
Committee Membership:

Mrs Iris Robinson MP ( Chairperson)
Ms Michelle O’Neill ( Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Thomas Buchanan
Rev Dr Robert Coulter
Dr Kieran Deeny
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mrs Carmel Hanna
Mr John McCallister
Ms Carál Ní Chuilín
Ms Sue Ramsey

The Clerk to the Committee is Mr Hugh Farren, Room 412, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX.

Tel No: 028 90521360 Fax No: 028 90521667


Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396. Fax: 02890 521961.
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