Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


25 May 2007


The first visit by the Assembly Health Committee on Thursday included a tour of maternity facilities at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital followed by a meeting with staff and management of the new Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The Committee was welcomed to the Trust by Mr Pat McCartan, Chairman, and Mr William McKee, Chief Executive.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee Dr Kieran Deeny MLA said: “The Committee recognises that the health service is facing a time of major change and reorganisation. This is particularly true in relation to Trusts which were reduced from 18 to 5 last month. The Committee believes that, as it starts to examine the work of the Department, it is important to see and hear at first hand about the issues facing the health service.”

Following the visit the Committee had a detailed briefing in Parliament Buildings from Professor Roy McClelland on the Bamford Review of Mental Health Services. This review, which is nearing completion, is the first ever comprehensive review of policy, services and law for people with mental health needs and learning disability in Northern Ireland.

Acting Chairman of the Committee Rev Dr Robert Coulter said: “It is well recognised that these services have been poorly resourced in the past and seen a low priority. It is crucial that users and carers are involved in bringing about improvements to services.”

Professor McClelland urged the Committee to press for the development of a comprehensive workforce strategy and a Bamford Review Implementation plan.

The Committee also heard evidence from Departmental officials on the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will be the first Bill to come before the Committee. The Bill deals with patient safety issues including the maintenance of lists of health practitioners regulating their right to practice; new powers for the Tribunal dealing with disciplinary matters, as well as provisions enabling Health Boards to enter into contracts for dental services.

Note to Editor:

Committee Membership:
Mrs Iris Robinson MP (DUP) (Chairperson); Ms Michelle O’Neill (SF) (Deputy Chairperson); Mr Thomas Buchanan (DUP); Rev Dr Robert Coulter (UUP); Dr Kieran Deeny (IND); Mr Alex Easton (DUP); Mr Tommy Gallagher (SDLP); Mrs Carmel Hanna (SDLP); Mr John McCallister (UUP); Ms Carál Ní Chuilín (SF); Ms Sue Ramsey (SF)

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.
Website Address –