McKinney: Who is accountable for our Health Service?
The South Belfast MLA said a number of major issues recently were cause for concern but, together, raise serious questions about who is making the big decisions.
Mr McKinney said: “Edwin Poots was left red-faced a few months back when some Trusts raced to close statutory care homes and almost cast aside the most vulnerable in our society. He managed to halt the approach but, the reality is, without public focus the Trust could have got away with it. That is lack of accountability.
“Last month, in the Health Committee, I quizzed officials about lengthy waiting list issues, particularly those caused by consultants themselves but the administrators didn’t have the answers. This too, demonstrates a lack of accountability. To my astonishment, it seems in the Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiry that health authorities are going to have a ‘cosy conversation’ with themselves about the issues, rather than a robust Inquiry with statutory powers to ask what went wrong and why.
“This week we heard an individual Trust is making decisions about its capacity to deliver A&E facilities, possibly forcing the shutdown of services with a huge impact on the local community and other already over-stretched hospitals. Once again we are left asking, who do we hold accountable?
“The health minister may intervene afterwards, but that is not good enough. He either knows about these things, which isn’t good enough, or he doesn’t."