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Fears NI health services could be scrapped and public not consulted due to new proposal

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Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly

Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly

Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly

Hospital units and services could be closed without public consultation in a controversial proposal being considered by health bosses, it has emerged.

During a fiery evidence session at Stormont's health committee on Tuesday, it was claimed that the Department of Health's permanent secretary, Richard Pengelly, has proposed temporarily removing the requirement for a 12-week public consultation period on changes to the health service.

Health Minister Robin Swann did not deny that this is the case, although he stressed that urgent action is required to ensure the health service can function in the event of a second Covid-19 surge.