Save the Mid welcome the Statement made by CEO John McLaughlin on behalf of Magherafelt Council representatives and Elected Councillors:
It is well documented that Save The Mid led the charge for Mid Ulster Acute services, recognised by the Health and Public Accounts Committees for providing fact based evidence. We have revealed shocking patient care, detailed reports stating the need for live saving services in Mid Ulster and proof that the Mid Ulster Hospital was run down so that it could be shutdown,despite the Council backed claims of Dr Flanagan.
Health Minister Edwin Poots has stated on Hansard it was a “Mistake” to shut the Mid Ulster A&E. When reasons to shut the Mid Ulster A&E came out in 2008 a senior Mid Ulster Consultant stated after he debunked every reason:
“In Conclusion I recognise that change is necessary but now that we are about to lose the Area Boards should the Department of Health, Health Minister and the Trusts not sit back and look at the map of Northern Ireland and consider the distribution of acute hospital services across the country to allow everyone fair and equal access? Also I feel the inaccuracies in the papers produced by the Trust for public consumption are unacceptable” (link)
Magherafelt Council did not contribute to the Transforming Your Care Health Review 2011, or to 3 research documents that Save The Mid produced for the review. Health Minster Edwin Poots stated in an Assembly Question that all councils were asked for their views, either the Health Minister is not telling the truth or the council did not respond.
In a freedom of information Magherafelt Council had a Special meeting with Sean Donaghy, CEO of the Northern Trust on the 15th November 2011, these minutes are not public knowledge and were resolved in section 1.2 in council chambers minutes on the 13th December 2011, They were proposed by Councillor J Campbell and seconded by J Crawford.
This meeting was regarding plans for Mid Ulster Hospital that were already taking place and leaked to Save The Mid in April 2011, these plans were made public knowledge and Councillors were well aware of the Trusts intentions – Did the Council Object or Disagree when shown these plans?
If they did not agree then why did Councillor McLean say “felt the department had the right idea – people wanted the best treatment at the best place. However there was no room for complacency and the local people had to be won over”. Local people did need won over and won over before the end of Jan 2012 as a £1,000,000 business case for these proposals had to be passed. Indeed in the same meeting the Ian Milne reflected “The Chairperson, Councillor Milne felt that the Department had got to where they wanted and the battle to save the Mid Ulster Hospital had been lost.” In the same sentiment it also states “Services would be lost to local people in local areas by centralising them on the Mid Ulster site”
In January 2012 Magherafelt Council & the Northern Trust invited community groups to Mid Ulster Hospital Day Centre, a Trust representative stated Magherafelt Council had agreed to these plans. Save The Mid were not initially invited to this meeting, the question is why? According to Sean Donaghy in a meeting with Save The Mid, Magherafelt Council approached the Trust about using space at the hospital for community and voluntary sector business (I have evidence of this). Why did the council not push for life saving services or more opening hours at the Minor Injury Unit?
In June 2012 in Magherafelt Council buildings another meeting was held, 9 people turned up, again Save The Mid were not invited to this meeting. This is the first recordable evidence of the Councils involvement in the health review.
By their own admission the council are fighting for Antrim A&E and Ambulance Services, there is no mention of fighting for A&E, lifesaving services or extended opening hours of minor injury at the Mid Ulster Hospital site.
Centralising acute services has led to some of the worst instances in patient care for Magherafelt residents, why now have the Council agreed to centralise local health services. As some of these services are in the Cookstown Council area what needs to be found out were Cookstown residents consulted on this?
I refuse to be bullied into silence by the CEO of the Council like many community groups have been in the past; I will openly accept a public meeting from Magherafelt Council to debate what the Mid Ulster hospital means to Mid Ulster residents.
Magherafelt Council should be thinking more about Mid Ulster residents rather than being selfish to their own district, as they openly stated: “The Council believes that the centralisation of these services at a ‘one-stop-shop’ at the Magherafelt site will improve the access to all of these services for all of the people of the district”