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31 May 2007


The Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey MLA, gave evidence today to the Assembly Health Committee on his main priorities for the period ahead.

The Minister indicated that he was identifying six priorities for inclusion in a Programme for Government and wanted to involve the Committee in the consideration of those priorities. He emphasised that he wanted to see a shift in strategy towards prevention, early intervention and greater emphasis on primary care services.

Member of the Committee questioned the Minister on a range of issues. Chairperson, Iris Robinson MP, said “The Committee is greatly concerned to see the recommendations on mental health and learning disability coming out of the Bamford Review implemented urgently. We recognise that this area has been seriously neglected over many years. We have great concerns that a champion for mental health services has not been appointed and we will wish to examine very carefully the Minister’s plans for a panel of experts.

We welcome the Minister’s assurance that he is seeking to double expenditure on mental health services from the current £175m per year. The Committee are calling for this funding to be ring-fenced.”

Mrs Robinson said, “Members are not convinced that Public Private Partnerships provide the best value for money. We welcome the Minister’s agreement that this issue needs further discussion”.
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 (IHC); 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.
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