Harding wants renal service back in Coleraine

INDEPENDENT councillor Helen Harding said a renal service is needed back at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

She was speaking during a presentation from Jackie McNeill, manager of the Northern Office of the Patient and Client Council, at Moyle Council.

The Patient and Client Council is an independent lobbying group which campaigns for better services for individuals and the public in general.

The Patient Council can help people make complaints and also provides advice.

Cllr Harding said quite a number of people from the Moyle area have to travel to Antrim or Belfast for kidney dialysis and she said the service is needed at the Causeway Hospital.

Mrs McNeill said the Client Council is campaigning to ensure such a service is brought back to Coleraine.

Ulster Unionist councillor Willie Graham agreed renal services are needed in Coleraine as people were faced with journeys up the country three times a week.

Meanwhile, DUP councillor Robert McIlroy said many people are concerned about the length of time it takes to get an appointment with GPs.

“It can be days on end,” he said.

Mrs McNeill said it is a big problem particularly in rural areas.

She said the Patient and Client Council has sent out a questionnaire to 88 GP practices in the Northern Health Trust area to get information about their appointment systems.

Explaining other areas of their work, Mrs McNeill said the Patient Council travelled to Rathlin Island on a fact-finding mission and they received eight complaints about health care, particularly domiciliary care.

Independent councillor Randal McDonnell said anyone wanting to make a complaint against the health authorities should involve the Patient and Client Council.

Anyone wanting to contact the Patient and Client Council can do so on 08009170222 or 02825863950 or go to the website www.patientclientcouncil.hscni.net

* In a footnote Mrs McNeill said she read a report which said children born now will live to an average age of 100 with the oldest living as long as 150!