Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the failure to replace the current consultant paediatric pathologist in Northern Ireland is “deeply alarming”.
It means post-mortem examinations on infants in Northern Ireland will have to be carried out in a hospital in England due to a lack of specialist staff due to the single remaining consultant leaving his post this February. Around 240 hospital autopsies are carried out in children in Northern Ireland each year.
The South Belfast MLA said it once again emphasised the need for the return of a Health Minister.
“I recognise the Health and Social Care Board is doing all it can to ensure perinatal and paediatric pathology services are still available to people living within Northern Ireland, but the proposal to do this in England rather than through a Belfast-based consultant as currently is deeply alarming and another example of the huge disadvantage of operating a service without adequate resource or forward planning.
“I wrote to the Department on exactly this subject some weeks ago and the response was clear in its view – Ministers are required back in place to provide the necessary approval and adequate resources for perinatal services during the transformation process. This news merely emphasises how bad things are without any Executive in place.
“Working alongside campaign groups on the issue, such as Everyone’s Business whom I met recently, I will continue to do what I can to ensure this is prioritised. Once again, it is vulnerable people suffering from the political failure of those who received the biggest mandates but are shirking the responsibility that comes with them.”