Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, what advice and extra resources are being provided to Health Service staff, including to domiciliary care workers; and whether consistent practices exist across Health and Social Care Trusts.
Minister of Health: Thank you for your Assembly Written Question.
Following the Speaker’s letter to all MLAs (18 March) you will be aware of the significant pressure that my Department is currently under in dealing with the biggest public health emergency that this country has ever faced.
To that end, I have had to re-prioritise the work of the Department to best tackle the risks to public health and social care in Northern Ireland caused by the COVID 19 Virus. My approach means that I have had to significantly redeploy Departmental resources which, in turn, has created unavoidable pressures in carrying out normal ‘business as usual’.
I am conscious that the Assembly not only has a desire, but also a duty to request the latest information relating to this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation, and I am therefore committed to providing Members with regular updates as developments occur. I trust that you will agree that it is in the public interest that my officials and I remain primarily focused on the task in hand over the coming period in relation to COVID-19 and I will therefore not be in a position to answer your written question at this time.
I appreciate your understanding.