UPDATED - December 19
Cross-community and cross-party support
BBC report - December 19: "A public consultation on the temporary closure of services at Dalriada Hospital, County Antrim, has been halted due to a court challenge. ..
Earlier this month, a High Court judge ruled that the hospital must continue to accept new patients until the judicial review is heard in full.
It resulted in a temporary reprieve for Dalriada's patients and for the [cross-community and cross-party] Save The Dalriada campaign group (Save the Dal)."
[click images to enlarge]
Early arrivals for the protest
Minister Wells in conversation with Cllr Cunningham, Moyle DC chair
The Minister speaks
The great show of cross-community and cross-party co-operation on the steps of Stormont contrasted sharply and sadly with the bickering inside the Assembly's hallowed portals. Those who need to avail of our health and social services deserve better from our politicians and other public servants and our media ought to shed much more light on the processes of our multi-layered governance*.
* Just how many layers exist between the Minister and the Dal? The following would appear to be the chief layers: The Minister > DHSSPS Permanent Secretary > DHSSPS Departmental Board > Health and Social Care Board > Northern Local Commissioning Group > Northern Health and Social Care Trust > The Dal. According to HM Treasury best practice the Minister should chair the Departmental Board but in the Northern Ireland Assembly the ministers don't even participate in these board meetings. Those who are not around the table when key decisions are being taken may not be in full possession of the facts. This lack of joined-up governance could mean that different stories are being told to different people in this elongated governance process and that decisions are not being adequately subjected to a public interest test.
On November 28, the Minister announced an in-house review of administration to be carried out by the Permanent Secretary whereas much greater independence is required so that more of the departmental budget gets to key front-line and supporting services.