January 28, 2020
Gildernew calls for all-island services for bereaved parents

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Colm Gildernew has asked Minister Robin Swann to work with the Department of Health in Dublin to provide more accessible pathology services for bereaved parents. 

Colm Gildernew, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, was speaking following reports that 161 post mortems on children were carried out in Liverpool because no service is available in the north.

Colm Gildernew said:

“This is an extremely sensitive issue, not only for the bereaved parents but also for wider family and friends. 

“The current arrangement is putting significant additional stress and burdens on families who have to travel to England for a service that should be locally available.

“Paediatric Pathology is a specialised service that has had difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. 

“The specialist post mortem service was transferred to Alder Hay Hospital in Liverpool as an interim measure.

“Sinn Féín has continued to press the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health to look at alternative, less traumatic approaches to providing a local service. 

“We have seen the benefits of working on an all-island basis for specialist services, such as the congenital heart disease network.

“I have asked the Minister of Health what contact his department has had with the Department of Health in Dublin on the provision of local paediatric pathology services, instead of the current arrangements of travelling to England.

“It is important that both departments are pragmatic and work together quickly to provide a more accessible and less traumatic service for parents and families.” 

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