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Emergency care review may not go far enough

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has cautioned that the Review of Emergency and Urgent Care announced by the Department of Health may not go far enough.

The review was announced by the Department of Health Permanent Secretary this week, in response to the increased pressure facing emergency departments. 

The South Belfast MLA stated: "The Review announced today comes at a peculiar time, with the cold weather already upon us, and seems limited in scope only to certain parts of the Health Service. 

"It seems to me that a more comprehensive review is required, incorporating the need for joined-up work with the Ambulance Service, linking in to domiciliary care providers on issues around discharge, and bringing on board community pharmacists and GPs concerning other options for urgent treatment and aftercare. 

"We also see further evidence of the need for higher prioritisation of workforce planning. It seems unlikely that the staffing issues referenced in the review announcement can be addressed quickly enough for this winter. 

"All such reviews should take account of the Bengoa panel's recommendations and of the Health Service in its entirety so that we maximise the efficiency and benefit of all resources available."