SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has raised the concerns of those with Cystic Fibrosis at the Assembly this week with Minister for Health Robin Swan MLA.
Mr McNulty said, ‘Cystic Fibrosis as a respiratory condition means that those with the condition are one of the most vulnerable groups to Covid19. One of Minister Swan’s earliest actions was to declare Belfast City Hospital as a Nightingale site and as a result all other services, including the regional cystic fibrosis service, were suspended.’
‘This week I have been contacted by many living with the condition who were pleading for the regional service to be reinstated as a matter of urgency. Whilst the regional service from Belfast City Hospital was suspended, patients were directed to their local Trust for help and support. When they contacted the service locally they were advised to make their way to the nearest hospital’s Emergency Department. This only added to their anxiety, with some local patients being admitted to the Infectious Diseases facility along with patients being treated for the coronavirus.’
‘This week the Health Minister set out how his department was dealing with Covid19 and during that statement I asked about his plans to reinstate the regional Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Belfast City Hospital. I shared the experience of local service users and the Minister has agreed to prioritise the reinstatement of the service as part of any recovery plans his department will bring forward. He also gave me a commitment that he would update me further on the service.’
‘This is a welcome development and a strong commitment from the Minister to have the service reinstated. Local patients have enough to worry about without being anxious about access to the medical and support services that should be there to reassure and protect them. I look forward to the Minister providing further detail in the days ahead.’