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Ti Chulainn not ‘a neutral environment’ for health facility, Minister says

The use of the Ti Chulainn Centre in Mullaghbawn as a venue for community health appointments is not considered to be a neutral environment for all members of the community and alternative venues are being pursued, the Health Minister Simon Hamilton has revealed.

At present, Ti Chulainn is used for occasional outpatient appointments by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

The issue was initially raised in January by Ulster Unionist politicians Danny Kennedy and David Taylor who said the minority unionist community had “genuine concerns” regarding the referral of patients to the centre.

Responding to an Assembly question from TUV MLA Jim Allister recently, the Health Minister Simon Hamilton conceded that Ti Chulainn does not meet the requirements of “a neutral environment” as a community health care facility and revealed his department “continues to liaise” with the Southern Trust regarding the issue.

Responding, Mr Hamilton said: “Any centre involved in the provision of health services at any level, must be somewhere that is a neutral environment and one that people from all backgrounds will feel comfortable accessing.

“It is clear that Ti Chulainn Centre does not meet this requirement.  The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has used this venue for the last three years for biannual sessions with around 10-12 pulmonary rehabilitation patients.  The Trust is reviewing the use of this facility, taking account of the views of everyone who accesses local care services there.

“Alternative venues are being pursued,” he added.