The Health Minister has been forced to defend the treatment of children with life threatening epilepsy after the chairperson of the Health Committee called for his resignation.
DUP MLA Iris Robinson launched a stinging attack on Michael McGimpsey in Stormont earlier this week and demanded that he stand down from his position.
Talking about the case of three-year-old Billy Caldwell, who has spent almost two years receiving treatment for intractable epilepsy in Chicago, Mrs Robinson accused the Minister of mismanagement.
Speaking in the Assembly on Thursday, Mrs Robinson said: “The minister’s repeated assertions that he is confident that Great Ormond Street Hospital provided the same gold standard service that is available in Chicago are contrary to the documentary evidence provided by Professor Helen Cross.
“I have to say I have no confidence in the minister and his senior advisers in overseeing any crisis. If the mismanagement of these children reflects the way the minister and his department does business, then there can be little confidence in patient safety.
Mr McGimpsey has rejected the claims made by Mrs Robinson and said that he has endeavoured to ensure that all of the health services and public monies for which he is responsible are used in the most effective way.
“I am simply not in a position to fund treatment outside of the UK which has not received prior approval from our health service, supported by expert clinical opinion,” he said.