Responding to a consultation from the Department of Health which would see outpatient breast diagnostic services removed completely from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area, the Council’s Development Committee set out a detailed argument based on population, need, long travel distances and access to safe and equitable care.
As well as being the second largest Trust area in terms of population with more than 380,000 people, the Trust also saw the second largest number of new attendances at symptomatic breast clinics across Northern Ireland in 2016-17.
Councillor Trevor Wilson, Chair of the Development Committee, said:
“We believe that, should this proposal go ahead, the population of Mid Ulster will be seriously and adversely affected.
“This proposal would undoubtedly lead to unacceptable increased travel times to access vital services, compounded by this region’s rurality and poor public transport links.
“We are also concerned that this could this signal the beginning of the end for breast services at Craigavon. The consultation documentation is not clear as to the future intentions for the service and does not address the issue of a shortage in specialist staff which is the main reason given for the need to reconfigure the service from the current 5 model site to a 3 model site.
“Local people still have the opportunity to have their say on the proposals and I would encourage them to respond to the consultation before it closes on 19 July”.
To view the consultation and respond, visit www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/reshaping-breast-assessment-services.