Poots must defend services

THE Health Minister must defend services not destroy them, a local MLA has said.

Reacting to news on the move of children’s heart surgery away from Belfast and the possible closure of nursing homes Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson had a stark message for Minister Edwin Poots.

She said: “This has been a very worrying week for those most vulnerable in our society, from those young children who need heart surgery and also for the elderly who will be deeply concerned about the future of statutory residential homes.

“The Minister needs to be defending, and not destroying our local health services. I campaigned alongside many local parents for the retention of Children’s Heart Surgery in Belfast, and speaking to many of them today they are outraged.

“I have got to know many of them personally and know they feel totally let down by a Minister who is not putting their needs first.

“Ultimately the final decision lies with Edwin Poots, he can and should say a loud ‘no’ to this recommendation.

“He should not shirk his responsibilities to all the parents who depend on the Health Service, for which, as the man at the top, he is solely accountable.”