Beggs seeks answers on what the Health Department knew on neurology alert and when
Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has demanded that the Department of Health reveal what exactly it knew and when in relation to the issue affecting over 2,500 neurology patients. The East Antrim MLA has also claimed that a Minister would have rightly been heavily reprimanded for the delays yet the Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly has been noticeable by his silence.
The Party has now tabled a series of Freedom of Information requests, including demanding copies of all internal Departmental records relating to the health alert since it was first raised at the end of 2016, a copy of all communication between the Department and the Belfast Trust, a copy of all correspondence between both the Trust and Department with the Royal College of Physicians, as well as asking for a copy of last Thursday’s final report.
Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, said:
“This has been a deeply distressing time for many of the patients. Yet as the hours and days begin to pass, more and more questions are coming to the fore.
“I simply cannot understand how is it possible that when concerns were raised in December 2016 it has taken until May 2018 for patients to be notified that they have potentially been misdiagnosed and have been receiving the wrong treatment ever since.
“This is not some administrative error – these are people’s lives we are talking about.
“The silence from the Health Department has been deafening. If there was a local Minister in place they would have quite rightly been grilled yesterday on exactly what they knew and when, and specifically on why they allowed the issue to remain under wraps for so long.
“Richard Pengelly, as head of the Department of Health, has major questions to answer and yet the Department’s own website doesn’t even have a single mention of what may potentially be Northern Ireland’s biggest ever health scandal. It’s just not good enough.
“There has been a major lapse in the duty of care to patients locally and whilst the immediate priority must be to support the 2,500 patients affected, I am determined to demand answers as to why patients have been so appallingly failed.”