Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Councillor Sandra Duffy has voiced her frustration at the lack of response from the Department of Health to concerns raised about the Breast Assessment consultation process.
She said “My party wrote to the department over two weeks ago raising a number of concerns with the Breast Assessment services consultation and as yet we have not received answers our questions.
“We are now three weeks into the consultation process and the department have failed to provide the clarity needed, particularly with regard to the evidence underpinning their proposal, to reduce breast assessment services from five sites to three.
“It was only after being challenged by Sinn Féin that the Department published an Equality Screening and Rural Impact Assessment.
“There are genuine concerns that the department have pre-determined the configuration of breast assessment services by putting forward only one option in the consultation and that this could have future implications for other breast cancer services such as treatment and surgery.
“Meaningful partnership working with those who use and those who deliver services is fundamental to any transformation of health services and requires the evidence underpinning proposed changes to be made available.
“The department needs to demonstrate fully how its proposal reflects meaningful partnership working and provide the clarity I and others have been seeking.
“The department needs to stop running down the clock on this consultation and address the genuine concerns that are being raised.
“Failure to be open and transparent undermines confidence in the Breast Assessment consultation process and transformation more broadly.”