LISBURN City Council has met with representatives from the South Eastern Local Commissioning Group (LCG) to discuss the future of health care provision across the city.
The Commissioning Group, chaired by local GP Dr. Nigel Campbell, plans and commissions health and social services care for 'people living in the Lisburn, Down, Ards and North Down Council districts.
Membership of the Group includes local GPs, a dentist, pharmacist, community and voluntary representatives, four local Councillors (from across the South East) and representatives from the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency.
The Council's Cross Party Working Group for Health discussed many issues with the Group including future 24-hour access at the Lagan Valley Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.
Speaking after the meeting, The Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading said that the meeting had been extremely useful, highlighting the complexities of health care provision in Northern Ireland and the relationships between all those involved.
"It is evident that there are many groups, including the Commissioning Group and the Primary Care Partnerships who are working hard to find solutions for the current shortfalls in the Health Service and the Council welcomes their input," said Mr Heading.
Chairman of the Local Commissioning Group, Dr. Nigel Campbell said the Local Commissioning Group was pleased to have had this initial engagement with Council members and looked forward to future following up with the Council on local health and social care matters. He noted that health and social care reform continues at a stead pace and that Lisburn City has already witnessed significant change at the Lagan Valley Hospital with the development of a new stand-alone Midwife Led Unit
Dr. Campbell highlighted the opportunities that on-going engagement with the Council and local public could bring and extended an invitation to Council members and the public of Lisburn to attend future meetings of the Local Commissioning Group.
The future of services at Lagan Valley Hospital was high on the Agenda at the Meeting and the Commissioning Group assured Elected Members that their Group was committed to finding a solution and playing its role in the Northern Ireland-wide comprehensive review of healthcare, chaired by John Compton.
Chairman of the Council's Corporate Services Committee, Councillor Stephen Martin, said that the Council was reassured that the Commissioning Group was firmly behind the Campaign to see 24hour provision reinstated at the Lagan Valley Hospital.
"Time and time again we keep hearing both from patients and experts that the people of Lisburn deserve 24 hour access at the Lagan Valley and there is clearly a commitment out there to ensure that this happens.
"These views, loud and clear, need to be part of the Compton Review,"
said Councillor Martin.
"I'd like to thank the South Eastern Local Commissioning Group for meeting with us. The meeting was very informative and I hope it is the first of many.
"A fuller picture is beginning to emerge. The Council continues to meet with the Trust, we have met the Health Minister, we have now met with the Commissioning Group and we will be meeting with the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency next week to seek answers.
"What is clear is that there is a resolve right across Lisburn to ensure that there is proper healthcare for all City residents, both now and in the future," said Councillor Martin.
Julie Turkington of McKibbins Service station handing over hospital petitions to Brian Bloomfield- US4111-114A0
LISBURN Councillor Brian Bloomfield has thanked local business
McKibbins Service Station for helping to collect over 600 signatures for
the 'Support Your Local Hospital' campaign. Mr Bloomfield spoke to Julie
Turkington, one of the owners of the garage, about the recently launched
campaign aimed at securing 24 hour access at the Lagan Valley Hospital.
She was keen to help the campaign and offered to have petitions
available in the garage for customers to sign.
Within just two weeks over 600 people had signed, and the completed forms were presented to Councillor Bloomfield this week.
"McKibbins is my local garage and I was delighted that Julie wanted
to help with the
campaign," said Mr Bloomfield. "I printed off some petitions and was hoping for about 100 signatures but within just two weeks we had over 600.
"I think this shows the strength of feeling in the area about the issue and it is important that local people make their voice heard."
The completed petitions were then presented by Mr Bloomfield to the Ulster Star and have been added to the hundreds already received from readers. You can still support the campaign by filling in the petition in the Star or downloading a copy of the petition from www.lisburncity.gov.uk