Consultation On Breast & Stroke Services Extended

The Department of Health (DoH) has extended the public consultation process on proposals to reshape stroke services and breast assessment in Northern Ireland.

Both consultations will now run until Friday 19 July, having been originally scheduled to finish on 18 and 17 June respectively. The extension follows criticism and calls for a more transparent consultation period to allow for clear scrutiny of the changes.

Launched earlier this month, the strategy was opened for submissions just as the Northern Ireland civil service entered a period of 'purdah', meaning they were unable to meet elected representatives for further discussions.
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Under the new plans, some breast assessment centres may be closed or relocated. Services at Altnagelvin, Antrim and the Ulster hospitals are expected to remain open but those at Belfast City Hospital and Craigavon may face closure. Stroke services at Daisyhill in Newry may also be affected as part of the reconfiguration.

The DoH is planning a series of public engagement events in June on both consultations, in order to generate the widest possible public engagement on the proposals and the "wider need for transformation across health and social care".

The consultation extensions will help facilitate the vital debate on the best way to reshape services, by providing additional time for the public to fully consider the proposals and submit their views. The Department also intends to publish further information relating to the proposals, during the extended period, to assist the public's understanding of these important proposed service changes.

They also take into consideration the increasing likelihood of a European election following the local government poll, and the Purdah issues this may raise for engagement.


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