South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said the issue had caused significant concern and dismay due to any consultation appearing to be a last resort to save money rather than as part of an overall strategy to improve care.
“My colleague Councillor Patrick Brown and I have lobbied to emphasise the unacceptability of making significant decisions over the future of healthcare services in the area based on budgets rather than people.
“I am concerned the consultation on options will go ahead without any apparent sense of how it fits into the overall strategy for transformation of our health and social care system. The very core of every expert report we have had on the issue is the silo mentality has to be overcome by a broad sense of a cohesive service responding to patients’ needs more effectively and efficiently.
“This transformation is the single most important issue we have at devolved level, which is why we should have a Health Minister back in place and a Health Committee scrutinising the work without delay.”