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New Health Minister asked to reinstate minor injuries unit to Armagh

Justin McNulty campaigning for a reversal on the decision to close Armagh's Minor Injuries Unit (MIU)

Newly-appointed Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has been asked to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the possibility of reopening the minor injuries unit in Armagh.

The Tower Hill facility closed on a temporary basis for six months and was later recommended for permanent closure.

But the move, a bid by the Southern Health Trust to make savings, can be overturned by the Minister.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has confirmed he has written to the new Minister to argue the case.

He said: “During the lifetime of the last Assembly we saw the downgrading, temporary and ultimate permanent closure of the minor injuries unit in Armagh City.

“This decision needs reversed and the service reinstated as a matter of urgency.  The Minister must be aware that there is cross party support for the service at council and Assembly groups locally.

“I want to see the Minister launch a review of this decision and reinstate the service immediately.

“We are all too aware that the previous Health Minister Simon Hamilton appointed an independent expert panel to look at the future of health provision across Northern Ireland in January and their work will be crucial to the future of health care here.

“However, it must be understood the real pressures on our Accident and Emergency Departments, the difficulty in getting a GP appointment locally, as well as pressures on the GP out-of-hours, and I fundamentally believe many of these problems are all interlinked and the minor injuries closure has most definitely played a part in adding to those pressures.

“Health care and the crisis within our health system was one of the issues raised most on the doorsteps during the recent election campaign and I pledged to raise these issues at the earliest opportunity.

“I have sought a meeting and hope the Minister will meet with me in due course.”

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