Monthly Archives: July 2018

UUP’s ‘wouldn’t block same-sex marriage’

Image copyright Pacemaker Image caption Doug Beattie speaks on LGBT issues during the traditional Pride Talks Back event The Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie has said he does not think any of his party’s MLAs would sign a petition of concern to block same-sex marriage at Stormont in the future. The MLA was speaking during a Belfast Pride debate on Monday night. Mr Beattie said while the UUP allows a conscience vote on the issue, he does not believe it should help veto it. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is illegal. In 2015, a narrow majority of MLAs at Stormont voted in favour of changing the law, but a cross-community veto mechanism known as the petition of concern deployed by the DUP meant the change was effectively blocked. A valid petition of concern requires the signatures of at least 30 MLAs. The DUP no … Continue reading

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Beggs welcomes announcement on legalisation of medicinal cannabis products

Ulster Unionist Health spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has welcomed the announcement by the Home Secretary that specialist doctors will soon be able to legally prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products. He has also welcomed the news that Billy Caldwell and other such patients will shortly be able to have their medicine administered within their own homes. Roy Beggs said: “It’s been clear for some time that the UK’s current laws on cannabis-related medicinal products have been outdated and no longer fit for purpose. For too long the medicinal benefits of these tightly regulated products have been ignored and their use shrouded in legal uncertainty. “There is irrefutable evidence that prescribed cannabis derived medication has been beneficial to Billy Caldwell and to others experiencing severe epilepsy and for which conventional medicines have not worked. I am pleased that common sense has at last prevailed and that they will soon be legally granted this … Continue reading

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Beggs welcomes Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment & Referral Service roll out for the Northern Trust

East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs has welcomed assurances provided to him by the Health & Social Care Board that the regional roll out of the Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment & Referral Service (NIPEARS) to address one of the longest specialist waiting lists, is to extend to both the Northern and South Eastern Trusts by the end of the current financial year. Roy Beggs MLA said “I am aware of the excessively long waiting lists for eye treatment and the positive effects of specialist eye treatment provided locally by the new Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment & Referral Service (NIPEARS). NI PEARS also provides secondary care Ophthalmology services where necessary. 23,506 Ophthalmology patients in Northern Ireland as of the 31st March 2018 were awaiting their 1st consultant led outpatient appointment in Northern Ireland. 18,784 of which have waited over 9 weeks, with approximately 40% (9,537) of the … Continue reading

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Underwear shared at Northern Ireland care home despite order to stop

Rose Court care home By Lisa Smyth July 18 2018 Residents of a care home owned by Runwood Homes were sharing underwear five months after health inspectors ordered that the practice should stop, it can be revealed. Inspectors from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) discovered residents at Rose Court care home had to share underwear during a visit in December last year. At the time, they told management that the use of communal net underwear by people who are incontinent must stop immediately. However, when they returned to the facility in Ballymena, Co Antrim again, at the end of April, they discovered that communal underwear was still being used. During the same inspection in April, the RQIA inspector was also forced to intervene after he noticed staff were crushing biscuits into cups of tea for residents who had difficulty swallowing. It is the latest shocking failure by Runwood … Continue reading

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Banks ‘should provide a local presence’ – Beggs

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has met with Danske Bank officials following an announcement that the Larne branch is to close. The East Antrim representative also sought reassurances on the future of the Carrickfergus branch. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Beggs said: “Danske Bank officials that I met were forthright in advising that the Larne branch was closing as the level of footfall and business had resulted in the branch not being sustainable. They indicated that branches were under pressure as a result of the increasing use of online banking, and infrequent visits by customers. Danske Bank was instead investing in online and mobile banking to meet the needs of customers of the future. They also indicated the high cost of an under utilized large town centre sites and the high level of competition from other banks/building societies locally. “Danske Bank customers like myself will have to assess the level … Continue reading

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