Family Practitioner Services: Sion Mills

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Leader of the Social Democratic & Labour Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take action to ensure that the medical practice in Sion Mills is immediately reopened.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

The decision regarding the location of any GP surgery or medical centre is a matter for the local Health and Social Services Board and the GP, who as an independent contractor can negotiate with the board as to where they would have their premises to best serve the local community. The practice has applied to the board to close the branch surgery in Sion Mills, and have not opened the surgery for several months following a physical attack on a GP in the surgery.

The board will be considering the application at its meeting on 29 March 2007.

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Celia Ferguson
Posted on 7 May 2007 12:12 am (Report this annotation)

The Health & Social Services Board has since decided not to reopen the surgery in Sion Mills. Population figures of 2010 for Sion Mills are quoted in justification, but are totally inaccurate as the 2001 Census boundaries are confined to the speed limits for the centre of the village and therefore are not relevant to whether we need a surgery or not. The recent closure of the Library has also been decided using these figures. However, a question asked in the House of Commons last year reveals that the Sion Mills Waste Water Treatment plant is used by 3031 people and is being upgraded at a cost of £1 million to cope with the growing population of the village. Apart from the regeneration of the huge Mill complex, it is expected that 400 new houses will be built and development is well underway already. The Glebe is also part of Sion Mills and is growing rapidly. The bottom line is that the surgery closure is being justified by totally unrealistic population figures, and the decision should be reversed urgently, as the figures in 2001 should have been 3031 and will soon be over 4000.