Other News In Brief

Executive Needed To Implement Changes To Stroke Services

Welcoming an announcement by the Health Minister of an Action Plan to improve Stroke services in NI, Sinn Féin has said that an Executive is required to implement the changes.

The party's health spokesperson Colm Gildernew said: "Today the Health Minister published a plan to improve stroke services and while this is welcome, we now need to see the Executive restored immediately so we can get on with the work of implementing this plan and fixing our health service.

"We need an Executive to be formed immediately and a three-year budget agreed which prioritises health and delivers better services for people.

"Sinn Féin is committed to investing an additional billion pounds in our health service over the next three years to tackle waiting lists, recruit more doctors and nurses and to fund vital cancer and mental health strategies.

"Delivering better stroke services for people are a priority for Sinn Féin and we look forward to engaging with the Health Minister on his latest proposals."

Unacceptable Failings Must Lead To Urgent Reform – Alliance

The scale of the failings revealed by the inquiry into work of a neurologist which led to a mass patient recall demonstrates the need for urgent reform and immediate implementation of recommendations, Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the report of the Independent Neurology Inquiry, which looked at the work of Michael Watt, was released. Among other findings, it stated there had been numerous failures, including Belfast Trust failing to intervene quickly enough, systems in place around patient safety failed and information was contained in silos, with communications between different organisations and management levels inadequate.

"I commend the inquiry team on not pulling any punches in their report, which demonstrates an unacceptable litany of failings and gets right to the heart of a culture of not calling out bad practice and intervening early in patients' interests," said Ms Bradshaw.
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"The fact is, over a period of many years, patients' interests were secondary. This has resulted in serious trauma for literally thousands of people. The scale of the suffering and the detrimental impact to lives cannot be understated.

"Therefore it is vital there be urgent reform and full implementation of the recommendations, headed by people not implicated in this scandal, to ensure patient safety will now be the number one priority and accountability systems actually function."

Belfast Met Joins Innovation City Belfast Partnership

Belfast Met has joined Innovation City Belfast (ICB) to help the partnership champion the skills agenda as it drives the city forward as a global destination for innovation.

Located in the heart of the Innovation District, Belfast Met becomes the seventh anchor institution in ICB which also includes Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

Commenting on the growth of the cohort, ICB Chair and Queen's University Belfast Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer said: "The addition of Belfast Met to ICB is a welcome and a natural step forward for the partnership, aligned with our mission of driving collaboration, bridging the gap between education and industry, and harnessing the growth in sectors such as FinTech, Health & Life Sciences, GreenTech and beyond.

"The latest expansion of ICB means we are now partnered with three key tertiary academic institutions focused on cultivating the innovators and skills for tomorrow.

"Significantly, they provide a direct link between skills requirement and skills delivery, helping build a pipeline of talent and enhancing the city's credentials on the international stage.

"Supporting the digital skills pillar of the £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal, Belfast Met, alongside our other key partners, enables inclusive innovation via pathways to jobs in the growing digital economy."

The college, which has four campuses situated across Belfast, will bring 30,000 new students to the Innovation District from September, coming at a pivotal time as businesses and industry leaders seek to drive vitality back into the city post-COVID.

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