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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK
Northern Ireland health plan: The way forward?

A report has proposed the most radical change to health services in Northern Ireland for a generation.

One of the main recommendations of the Hayes Report is for a new acute hospital to be built in County Fermanagh.

Others include the merging of four health boards into one and the down-grading of seven local hospitals.

The report also recommends doubling hospital consultants and increasing the number of family doctors in Northern Ireland.

What changes do you think need to be made to Northern Ireland's health services? Do you think the Hayes Report is the way forward?

This Talking Point is now closed. Your comments are posted below.



The Hayes proposals will quite simply deny people an adequate health service

P. Quinn, N. Ireland
The Hayes proposals will quite simply deny people an adequate health service. Those living west of the Bann will suffer as a result of the downgrading of services and with the removal of accident and emergency facilities. It is vital that these measures are resisted.
P. Quinn, N. Ireland

The usual argument placed before us is again the apparent willingness of individuals to travel any distance to gain optimal specialist care. It should be noted that such individuals consulted are presently healthy and have little concept of the reality when ill. For example, chemotherapy patients travelling from 60 or more miles away from Belfast would require to make preparation at least 3 hours before commencing the journey, followed but a further 2 hours journey back in the evening....at the best of times. Finally, as suggested by the earlier comments, this radical plan is no more than parroting what has been in the planning rooms of the various health boards and does not look any nearer true implementation as more consultation is considered not for response but merely for efforts at fudging the issue.
ZGL, Belfast

Far from producing a radical alternative, Dr Hayes has published a report which re-echoes the stated plans of the current Health Board which he seeks to remove. Those plans are already known and have received widespread criticism from the people in the north of Ireland. By leaving the area west of the Bann with even less acute services than at present, with the exception of the new proposals for Enniskillen, he has failed to consider how those on low incomes will access these services. Indeed his only rule in assessing availability is stated in the report as being that the services be reached within 1 hour. This ignores the cost aspect, not only for those needing the services but also for families and friends who would wish to visit them during any medium to long term stay.
P. Baker, Ireland

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See also:

20 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Hospital shake-up plan published
20 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Mixed reaction to health report
31 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Acute hospitals under review
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