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Friday 07 September 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Regional Development

Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Breast Screening

Mr Leslie Cree asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what plans he has to deal with the backlog of approximately 7,000 women waiting for breast screening in the Eastern Health and Social Services Board area.

(AQW 28/08)

The Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Mr McGimpsey): There are a total of 26,400 Eastern Board women eligible for breast screening between 1 August 2007 and 31 July 2008 (7,000 backlog and 19,400 women invited as part of the routine breast screening programme). The Eastern Board currently screens 419 women per week and plans to increase this to 555 per week from September. This will reduce the backlog to approximately 3,600 by 31 July 2008 and it is anticipated that it will be cleared by the end of July 2009.

The breast screening programme is a rolling one which invites women from GP practices in turn on a three year cycle and any additional activity in one year would have to be replicated every third year or a backlog would develop again. The reduction in the backlog requires careful management to ensure that the situation does not recur and my Department is monitoring the situation closely.

Regional Development
Cost of Bonfire Clean-Up

Mr Paul Butler asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the costs incurred by Roads Service in relation to the clean-up of bonfires held on 11 July.

(AQW 30/08)

The Minister for Regional Development (Mr Murphy): My Department’s Roads Service may be involved with the removal of bonfire material from the public road network, either before or after the bonfire has been lit, and the subsequent removal of that material. Repairs to the road surface may also be required. The extent of Roads Service’s involvement varies from year to year and also between local council areas.

While Roads Service does not monitor expenditure specifically related to bonfires, it is estimated that in the summer of 2007, around £60,000 was spent on attending/repairing bonfire sites.

Road Safety Measures on the A26 Frosses Road

Mr Mervyn Storey asked the Minister for Regional Development if he will introduce (i) further road safety measures on the A26 Frosses Road between Glarryford and Ballymoney; and (ii) roundabouts at the Kirk Road and Dervock Road junctions of the A26 Frosses Road.

(AQW 42/08)

Mr Murphy: A number of improvements to the A26 route from Glarryford to the Dervock Road have been introduced over the past number of years. These have included a significant safety scheme carried out during the period 2001 to 2003 that provided upgraded road markings to indicate safe overtaking opportunities, edge of carriageway markings, improved junction safety through the introduction of coloured surfacing and traffic islands and improved signage. In addition climbing lanes have been introduced at Glenlough to provide overtaking opportunities for traffic travelling towards Ballymena; and at Ballinaloob for traffic travelling towards Ballymoney. The latter scheme also introduced a much improved junction layout at the Dunloy Crossroads junction. A roundabout has also been provided at the junction of the A26 Ballymoney bypass at the Kilraughts Road junction. My Department’s Roads Service is currently progressing plans for the provision of a dual carriageway on this route from Glarryford to the junction of the A26 with the A44 Drones Road.

With regard to the second part of your question, the recently published Sub-Regional Transport Plan 2015 has identified a number of junctions within Ballymoney Town that may require upgrading during the plan period. However, this did not extend to or identify any issues with the junctions to which you refer in your question. I am not, therefore, in a position to offer any immediate likelihood of further improvements being introduced at these junctions. I understand that you had recently written to Roads Service, expressing concerns about the delays being experienced at the Dervock Road. Traffic surveys will be carried out at both the Dervock Road and Kirk Road junctions to quantify the extent of any delays being experienced and I have asked the Divisional Roads Manager to write to you with the results of these surveys when available.