Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “While I acknowledge that Cuba has a very good health system and I am sure that we could learn some things from them, I believe that this trip is not justified when video conferencing facilities are available to us. I am sure that we could have learned the same amount as Sue Ramsey and Jim Wells will if we organised to make a video conference call involving the whole committee, instead of sending them.
“The Cuba model may not be transferable to Northern Ireland considering that they are a communist country and being in the Caribbean, they obviously have a different climate. I understand that their salaries are different to ours, and pay is obviously a big part of our Health budget, so I do not know how much we can copy them.
“I am however glad that the original idea of sending the whole committee to Cuba was withdrawn after I raised objections, there was even a suggestion of sending a Committee member from each of the five parties which was also withdrawn.
“After Basil McCrea’s aborted attempt to take the whole Employment and Learning Committee to San Diego was heavily criticised, I am surprised that this proposal was put forward.”