17/06/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


17/06/2012

Tara Mills looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 17/06/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

A health service under pressure - we ask the Minister at Edwin Poots

:01:45.:01:49.

Howard can recover. And will they or won't they? We

:01:49.:01:59.
:01:59.:01:59.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1613 seconds

:01:59.:28:52.

lookout the significance of the Hello, and welcome to the Sunday

:28:52.:28:55.

politics in Northern Ireland. It has been a difficulty here for the

:28:55.:29:00.

health minister. The deaths of four premature babies -- babies from

:29:00.:29:06.

pseudomonas, the crisis in Accident and Emergency, and the controversy

:29:06.:29:09.

over blood donation. Lifting the ban on gay people seems as far away

:29:09.:29:16.

as ever. The important right are the right

:29:16.:29:21.

of the person receiving the blood to have confidence the blood will

:29:21.:29:26.

not infect them with something else. A, the history of a handshake - as

:29:26.:29:30.

Martin McGuinness ponders, we look back as how -- at how history has

:29:30.:29:37.

been shaped by the joining of hands. And my studio guests, Sue Ramsey,

:29:37.:29:45.

chair of their health committee, and an County Omagh GP.

:29:45.:29:51.

He was described as brave for closing the city's Hospital ent E.

:29:51.:29:54.

But when things are drunk Edwin Poots was the man in the firing

:29:54.:29:58.

line. I spoke to the health minister on Friday and began by

:29:58.:30:02.

asking him how he reflects on the past 12 months. It has been an

:30:02.:30:06.

interesting time in my life. I regard it as a fantastic

:30:06.:30:11.

opportunity. I feel very privileged to do this job, and as their look

:30:11.:30:16.

back it has been idea of height and lows. This pseudomonas outbreak,

:30:17.:30:22.

for example, that was probably the lowest point. We had the challenge

:30:22.:30:25.

is about accident at a bridge at the department's, those were

:30:25.:30:31.

difficult things. -- we had challenges about Accident and

:30:31.:30:41.
:30:41.:30:42.

Emergency departments. We recently got the state electronic care

:30:42.:30:45.

record, which will enable consultants to work more closely

:30:45.:30:51.

with GPs and have a more fluid cyst -- system within the health service.

:30:51.:30:55.

We will be opening the new hospital in the south-west this week. Those

:30:55.:30:59.

are really exciting and good things and it is great to be involved in

:30:59.:31:03.

those. When it comes to Accident and Emergency, there is a sense

:31:03.:31:08.

among health professionals you are backtracking on a commitment to the

:31:09.:31:12.

A&E hospital. Have you had your fingers burned over what happened

:31:12.:31:17.

with the City Hospital? I never made any -- any commitment

:31:17.:31:26.

to close Causeway Accident and Emergency. The Compton review

:31:26.:31:30.

suggested at least have, and that is on the list of potential

:31:30.:31:34.

closures. The Compton review recommended we would have five or

:31:34.:31:38.

seven hospitals, and people made an assumption that hospital may close

:31:38.:31:42.

as a result of that. I think it is important to maintain public

:31:42.:31:47.

confidence. Is the public confidence at the moment? There

:31:47.:31:50.

have been suggestions it is not safe, at the close Causeway

:31:51.:31:55.

Hospital, and those arguments were used about the city hospital when

:31:55.:32:00.

it closed. The hospitals are incompatible. City Hospital is one

:32:00.:32:05.

mile from the Royal. Because we is thought to miles from antrum and 30

:32:05.:32:10.

miles from another hospital. There was quite a challenge in getting

:32:10.:32:15.

people in emergency situations to that alternative force will have --

:32:15.:32:18.

to alternative facilities. The challenge we have with the causeway

:32:18.:32:24.

is that it retains the skill base and the amount of work that is

:32:24.:32:28.

required. I am putting it back to the people who manage that hospital,

:32:28.:32:34.

the clinicians within the hospital, and I have no desire to take

:32:34.:32:38.

services away from that facility. They need to demonstrate to me they

:32:38.:32:42.

can perform those services in a safe and sustainable and resilient

:32:42.:32:47.

away, and that is what needs to be done. There are some decisions

:32:47.:32:51.

coming up that you have to make. When will you decide on allowing

:32:51.:32:56.

gay people to donate blood or not? Interestingly enough, I have

:32:56.:33:01.

received two back pieces of correspondence this week. One was

:33:01.:33:05.

from my southern counterpart, James Riley, who is indicating they do

:33:05.:33:09.

not intend to change their position, which is a permanent deferral, and

:33:09.:33:15.

it is not just about HIV but other blood borne viruses. There was a

:33:15.:33:20.

second piece of work done recently by the European Council. It

:33:20.:33:23.

indicated the majority of states in Europe, which goes beyond the

:33:23.:33:29.

European Union, all 54 states would be opposed to moving away from a

:33:29.:33:33.

permanent deferral. I think the people who engage in higher risk

:33:33.:33:38.

sexual behaviour in general should be excluded from giving blood. If

:33:38.:33:42.

someone has sex with someone enough to cut or has sex with prostitutes,

:33:42.:33:46.

I am very reluctant about those people being able to give blood. I

:33:46.:33:52.

am certainly range it -- raising a whole range of areas. One of the

:33:52.:33:55.

things that is important is that we retain confidence in the system.

:33:55.:33:59.

This system has worked for many years, so to work away from

:33:59.:34:03.

something that is actually working, the old saying, if it isn't broke,

:34:03.:34:08.

don't fix it. But if people feel they are being discriminated

:34:08.:34:12.

against? The rights that are important are

:34:12.:34:16.

the rights of the person receiving the blood to have confidence that

:34:16.:34:19.

blood is not something that is going to infect them with something

:34:19.:34:23.

else. Is the blood not screened before it is passed on any way?

:34:23.:34:29.

The tears. There is some blood that comes in and has turned round very

:34:29.:34:33.

quickly, and there can be problems arising as a result of that.

:34:33.:34:37.

will you stop donations from England, Scotland and Wales? They

:34:37.:34:43.

do not have his ban. The first element of the screening

:34:43.:34:47.

is to remove people who engage in risky behaviour. The second element

:34:47.:34:54.

is the scientific element, and that will look at the blood itself. What

:34:54.:34:57.

we have actually works by removing people we engage in what is

:34:57.:35:02.

perceived as being risky behaviour and it actually works very well in

:35:02.:35:06.

the second element of the screening. By will receive blood from other

:35:06.:35:10.

areas whenever I mediate, the Republic of Ireland or other parts

:35:10.:35:15.

of the UK. -- whenever I needed. Aga officials advising this is a

:35:15.:35:19.

good idea, or is this how you feel about it?

:35:19.:35:24.

I have taken advice from a range of people. I have conflicting advice

:35:24.:35:29.

on it, which is part of the problem. Some people would say, we think we

:35:29.:35:32.

could go ahead with it, and others are saying we would prefer not to

:35:32.:35:38.

do that. That can be quite significant. How can you justify it

:35:38.:35:41.

went the minions of people who live in the rest of the UK are, in your

:35:41.:35:49.

opinion, were exposed to risk? It is not particularly difficult to

:35:49.:35:52.

justify whenever North America doesn't do it. The vast majority of

:35:52.:35:56.

Europe has said that they have no intention whatsoever of changing it.

:35:56.:36:00.

There are only a few countries in the world who have taken a similar

:36:00.:36:04.

line to the UK. When it comes to the future of the

:36:04.:36:12.

Health Ministry, the hunt is likely to be run again in the autumn

:36:12.:36:14.

because of the dissolution of the Department of Employment and

:36:14.:36:18.

learning. Will the DUP take on the health portfolio again?

:36:18.:36:23.

I would imagine so, unless someone else tries to take it before us. We

:36:23.:36:29.

have enjoyed -- we have a job to do. It is a big job. It is the largest

:36:29.:36:32.

department in Government. It has taken some time to turn it around

:36:32.:36:35.

and get it pointed in the right direction.

:36:35.:36:39.

So Sue Ramsey, you are chair of the health committee and it is your job

:36:39.:36:42.

to scrutinise his did -- his decisions. What is your view on

:36:42.:36:46.

blood decisions? My view is that he is bringing his

:36:46.:36:51.

own prejudices into play here. Edwin Poots, when it suits him,

:36:51.:36:54.

says that he takes his line from the British Government. You

:36:55.:36:59.

actually highlighted the fact that this ban does not exist in England,

:36:59.:37:04.

Scotland and Wales. He also highlighted that we have a robust

:37:04.:37:08.

screening programme. We are crying out for blood, it is an issue of

:37:08.:37:11.

equality and we have a screening programme to ensure every drop of

:37:11.:37:17.

blood is safe for people. He denies it is his own personal opinion, he

:37:17.:37:21.

admits there is conflicting advice, but as a committee can you change

:37:21.:37:26.

his mind? We will, we can ask for the reports

:37:26.:37:31.

he is referring to. He talks about parity, but he is breaking his

:37:31.:37:35.

parity with England, Scotland and Wales. It is a matter of equality.

:37:35.:37:40.

The issue is that blood is screened. We have a robust screening

:37:40.:37:44.

programme and we are crying out for blood donation. We have had to

:37:44.:37:50.

bring in blood from the UK because we need it. Anyone that is giving

:37:50.:37:53.

blood will be screened, so we did not go down this line of his own

:37:53.:37:57.

prejudice coming into play. let's look at some of the wider

:37:57.:38:00.

health issues. You come from our area which has

:38:00.:38:04.

lost its ENT services. That is having a knock-on effect in other

:38:04.:38:09.

parts of Northern Ireland. -- lost its Accident and Emergency services.

:38:09.:38:19.
:38:19.:38:22.

We fought very hard in County -- format to save our services. We

:38:22.:38:26.

did highlight that it would put pressures on all the Govan hospital

:38:26.:38:34.

and the Ayr hospital. -- the earn hospital. That it -- the low point

:38:34.:38:39.

for me was the death of the gentleman in the Royal Hospital. It

:38:39.:38:42.

highlights that being E services are overstretched, and my own

:38:42.:38:46.

patient to complain when they attend the hospitals that they have

:38:46.:38:53.

very excessive times to wake. -- my own patient do complain. If a GP

:38:53.:38:57.

refers for assessment, many patients are asked to attend

:38:57.:39:07.
:39:07.:39:08.

Accident and Emergency. The Erne Hospital Has an assessment unit

:39:08.:39:11.

where patients can be assessed and that is a better system. There is

:39:11.:39:15.

another side to it, isn't there? There are people in Accident and

:39:15.:39:19.

Emergency he should not be there. But is there then that not pressure

:39:19.:39:24.

on people like yourself to provide a service to stop people going to

:39:24.:39:27.

accident adamant that the in the first place?

:39:27.:39:32.

That is right, this is why there is call location between the accident

:39:32.:39:38.

and unedited apartment and the GP out-of-hours service. -- Accident

:39:38.:39:43.

and Emergency department. GPs are happy to treat General Medical

:39:43.:39:46.

cases to allow Accident and Emergency to be freed up for

:39:46.:39:51.

genuine emergencies. That is appropriate. It will give the

:39:51.:39:57.

patients a better service with shorter waiting times. We also --

:39:57.:40:01.

often hear that politics overrides the health service because people

:40:01.:40:05.

are looking over their shoulders for votes. Do you think that has

:40:05.:40:10.

come to an end? I am there to ensure my

:40:10.:40:14.

constituents get the best service they are entitled to. I am not

:40:14.:40:18.

coming up this from a political point of view. It is about ensuring

:40:18.:40:22.

that health is three at the point of delivery, there is a quality

:40:22.:40:26.

around the health services, and there is an issue with making a

:40:26.:40:31.

decision to close one hospital, the impact it has on other hospitals.

:40:31.:40:35.

For a long time we were not looking beyond the boundaries of health

:40:35.:40:39.

trusts. We need to look at the impact of a decision in one area

:40:39.:40:43.

and how that can have an impact on another of area.

:40:43.:40:47.

The you think it was wrong to close the city hospital?

:40:47.:40:51.

We are still told that is only a temporary decision, so I think they

:40:51.:40:55.

need to be honest with people. We have seen that the problems the

:40:55.:41:00.

Royal Hospital has been under. That is the system within hospital

:41:00.:41:09.

services. In politics, a handshake can help

:41:09.:41:15.

seal the deal or change the mood. But the timing has to be right. We

:41:15.:41:25.
:41:25.:41:30.

have a report on the importance of Handshakes have provided some of

:41:30.:41:33.

the most seminal moments in political history, and not just in

:41:33.:41:39.

Ireland. Some gestures appear highly significant at the time and

:41:39.:41:43.

lead nowhere. I suppose the most famous example would be the

:41:44.:41:49.

handshake on the lawn of the White House between Yitzhak Rabin and

:41:49.:41:55.

Yasser Arafat. The peace process then went into the sand. That did

:41:55.:42:00.

not have a long lasting impact. There are other cases, I suppose.

:42:01.:42:05.

The most iconic one would be Nelson Mandela putting on that the

:42:05.:42:11.

Springbok jersey at the final of the World Cup in 1995.

:42:11.:42:14.

The sculpture, entitled reconciliation cannot was inspired

:42:14.:42:18.

by the end of the Second World War. It was unveiled at Stormont 12

:42:18.:42:25.

years ago by David Trimble, one of several symbolic axe at a difficult

:42:25.:42:29.

time in the peace process. Some gestures undoubtedly help to

:42:29.:42:34.

underpin the political process, but not everyone is impressed. These

:42:34.:42:40.

things are hyped for the optics, and sometimes for the gullible, to

:42:40.:42:43.

try and pretend there is more significant than what lies behind.

:42:43.:42:47.

I think that is not the real historical significance of any of

:42:47.:42:54.

that in a handshake, handshakes and back-slapping. We have seen that,

:42:54.:42:58.

Ian Paisley back-slapping Bertie Ahern, all of that.

:42:58.:43:02.

Traditionally, handshakes have been seminal. They are important, they

:43:02.:43:06.

show leadership and demonstrate growth in political maturity. But

:43:06.:43:10.

that kind of growth only comes with integrity, and I think the general

:43:10.:43:13.

public absolutely understand whether a gesture has integrity or

:43:13.:43:18.

not. The Queen's visit to the book last

:43:18.:43:23.

year and were gestures of reconciliation and respect mark a

:43:23.:43:28.

new age in Anglo-Irish relations. The visit was highly significant in

:43:28.:43:33.

terms of being the cherry on top of the final culmination of a process,

:43:33.:43:38.

it really kind of sealed the deal in saying that Britain and Ireland

:43:38.:43:42.

had a very different relationship. Here is a handshake that means a

:43:42.:43:45.

lot in Ballymena. The council has elected its first ever nationalist

:43:45.:43:52.

Mayor. Whatever the issue on the Sinn Fein's internal debate, most

:43:52.:43:55.

people believe Martin McGuinness should meet the Queen and so rather

:43:55.:44:00.

than later. The Queen went to the south of Ireland and was made very

:44:00.:44:07.

welcome, so why don't see why she should not be made welcome up here.

:44:07.:44:11.

They're supposed to be working together now, you know, and it is

:44:11.:44:17.

about time that Martin McGuinness met the Queen. I think it might be

:44:17.:44:25.

too early. For him or for her? For Martin. You think now is not

:44:25.:44:30.

the right time? Not right away. would just make people want to live

:44:30.:44:34.

together and agree more. You think it is that important if he was to

:44:34.:44:39.

make such a gesture? I think it would help. Copies of this

:44:39.:44:42.

sculpture have been installed in other countries where there has

:44:42.:44:46.

been division and conflict. Sinn Fein's Division once again will

:44:46.:44:50.

draw international attention to Northern Ireland and how our

:44:50.:44:53.

politicians deal with reconciliation.

:44:53.:44:56.

Sue Ramsey, obviously you party colleague highlighted on this

:44:56.:44:59.

programme last week that the continuing problems around this

:44:59.:45:02.

issue. When you think a final decision will be made by Martin

:45:02.:45:10.

McGuinness? It will be made by a our national Executive, so I don't

:45:10.:45:13.

want to pre-empt or speculate on what they will want to say. On the

:45:13.:45:16.

issue of handshakes, it was interesting to hear Jim Allister. I

:45:16.:45:20.

would be happy the day Jim Allister said good morning to me. There is a

:45:20.:45:28.

lot of work still to be done their. One day, me and Jim will actually

:45:28.:45:33.

have a cup of tea. Your party leader obviously shook hands with

:45:33.:45:38.

many different people back in the 1990s and in the early decade

:45:38.:45:43.

following, do you see this as the final piece of the jigsaw?

:45:43.:45:48.

I think so. I think Her Majesty the Queen blazed a trail in Anglo-Irish

:45:48.:45:53.

relations and demonstrated the need for reconciliation and the need to

:45:53.:45:58.

go forward positively. I think all of us being able to shake hands is

:45:58.:46:03.

the next step on that journey. He writes, fagging and the National

:46:03.:46:08.

Trust branded a disgrace. All end up weeks' work as Stephen Walker

:46:08.:46:18.
:46:18.:46:23.

looks back in 60 seconds. Gay right Gay rights caused trouble with the

:46:23.:46:29.

Unionists. By day I grew up believing that same-sex marriage

:46:29.:46:34.

and Sensex relationships was not right.

:46:34.:46:41.

At Stormont, others had difficulty keeping quiet.

:46:41.:46:46.

Pilot wanted to shut down one of Belfast's imports. Conservationists

:46:46.:46:50.

took a swing at plan for a Gulf course, leaving some supporters

:46:50.:46:55.

teed off. -- a Gulf course. The National

:46:55.:46:58.

Trust should change their name to a national disgrace.

:46:58.:47:04.

Arlene Foster told the Co-op to but out of the flagging debate.

:47:04.:47:09.

At one MLA fluffed her lines. We will see if they're getting rid

:47:09.:47:19.
:47:19.:47:20.

It is a big week in Enniskillen, obviously it will have an impact

:47:20.:47:24.

for people from our own, as well. Do you welcome the new St Helens

:47:24.:47:32.

and Whiston are I absolutely do. We need high-quality clinical

:47:32.:47:42.
:47:42.:47:43.

services. I have no doubt the people of all map will support this

:47:43.:47:47.

fabulous new hospital. It represents state of-the-art

:47:47.:47:50.

technology and I hope we will recruit top nursing and consultancy

:47:50.:47:57.

staff. Is it an example of how we can make mature decisions, and on

:47:57.:48:01.

this occasion people and County our own missed out in favour of the

:48:01.:48:05.

people of County Fermanagh. We think this is a signal to the rest

:48:05.:48:07.

of Northern Ireland of how things will be in the future?

:48:07.:48:11.

I don't think the people will adopt a dog in the manger approach, if we

:48:11.:48:16.

don't get acute services we will not support Enniskillen. I don't

:48:16.:48:21.

think that will happen. We're riddled to get our own new local

:48:21.:48:25.

enhanced hospital by 2015. That will provide a lot of local

:48:25.:48:29.

services for the people and I think that many valuable services will be

:48:29.:48:34.

delivered locally, as it should be. It is difficult though. On the

:48:34.:48:39.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS