Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Health Committee

MLAs called for steps to be taken to counteract rumours surrounding the outbreak of the pseudomonas bacteria infection at the Royal Jubilee Maternity's neo-natal unit, on 25 January 2012.

Three babies had died as a result of pseudomonas at the hospital in recent weeks.

The committee agreed to call in the minister, Edwin Poots, and his senior officials to give them a briefing as soon as possible.

Referring to the installation of ultra-violet taps at the hospital, committee chair Michelle Gildernew suggested that they write to the department to ask whether such equipment would be fitted in other neo-natal units.

Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady was concerned about the implications for immuno-compromised patients.

The DUP's Gordon Dunne said people needed reassurance that hospitals were clean.

West Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Sue Ramsey said there were a lot of rumours flying around, and she knew that some expectant mothers were scared to come into hospital to give birth.

Her views were echoed by Paula Bradley of the DUP and the SDLP's Mark Durkan, who said he had to explain to some people the difference between neo-natal and maternity.

Kieran McCarthy of the Alliance party raised the matter of alleged child sex abuse at Lissue House and Forster Green hospitals.

This had been the subject of a ministerial briefing to the committee the previous week.

Mr McCarthy was concerned that no-one had been found accountable.

Sue Ramsey suggested that if the minister was not prepared to continue the investigation then perhaps the committee could take it on.

"We have the powers to call persons and papers," she added.

Gordon Dunne stood up for the minister, noting that the cases had not been closed.

Michelle Gildernew said she thought it was important that the committee kept this matter alive.

Health committee membership

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