Gerry Mullan, SDLP MLA for East Londonderry has asked the Health Minister about providing courses in Dental Studies at Coleraine University to alleviate staff shortages in the Western Health Trust area.
Speaking in the Assembly, MLA Mullan said : “I thank the Minister for her answers so far. The case of young Connla Quinn is very distressing and has been widely reported in the media recently. Has the Minister considered providing undergraduate training in dental studies at Ulster University in Coleraine to alleviate the problem of staff shortages in the Western Trust and reduce ever-increasing locum costs on dentists?”
Responding to the question, Health Minister O’Neill said ” “I do not have any information about the Western Trust specifically; I am happy to provide that to the Member in writing. Obviously, there are challenges for the Western Trust, but there are challenges for many trusts with workforce issues and being able to recruit people. We have an over-reliance on locums, and that is not the place that we want to be.
“We need to transform Health and Social Care, and we need a real and meaningful workforce plan that allows us to recruit staff. It is difficult to recruit staff. Quite often, trusts go out to recruitment but cannot fill posts. We need to do more to change that picture. I do not have specific information about the Western Trust, but I will write to the Member.”