Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:36 UK

Health Committee

MLAs were told that the Health & Social Care Review was not primarily a cost-driven exercise, on 19 October 2011.

John Compton, who chairs the review, said before the review the department would be spending £4.65bn, and after it they would still be spending £4.65bn.

In his view the driving issues included service resilience and patient outcomes.

Mr Compton defended his use of private-sector business consultants as part of the review.

"We are using it essentially as staff substitution," he said.

Mr Compton also said the review was "pretty much on time" for completion on 30 November.

The DUP's Jim Wells said that if he managed to get all the work done on time Mr Compton was in line for a knighthood.

Glenn Houston of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) briefed the committee on an inspection of Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre and Ash House Women's Prison in south Belfast.

He said there were significant deficits that needed to be addressed.

Concerns raised by Mr Houston included the holding of children in an adult prison and suicide prevention.

He said the report made 113 specific recommendations to a range of bodies.

Sinn Fein's Michaela Boyd's impression was that the prisoners had been "locked up and forgotten about". She wanted to know how the RQIA could be sure its recommendations had been acted upon.

Glenn Houston said he believed a follow-up inspection was essential, and that the inspection should be unannounced.

Officials from the bodies responsible for health care in the prisons then gave evidence.

Desmond Bannon of the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust gave some of the background to the delivery of health care for prisoners.

Amongst the issues he identified was the high percentage of prisoners receiving prescription drugs primarily for their sedative or tranquilising effects.

Mr Bannon detailed some of the steps taken to address the problems identified by the RQIA.

Health committee membership


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