Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has warned that never before has Northern Ireland faced such an unprecedented waiting times crisis. He was commenting after it was confirmed that as of September 2017 there were over 272,000 patients across Northern Ireland waiting for a first appointment with a medical consultant, with 73,000 of those waiting over 12 months.
Roy Beggs said:
“Northern Ireland’s Health Service is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis Never before have so many people been waiting so long for either a diagnosis or treatment.
“The brutal reality is that some of these people have been waiting for so long that they now have a reduced likelihood of a successful outcome. Health workers that I talk to have come to the tragic conclusion in recent months that people are coming to serious harm, and sometimes worse, as a result of these delays.
“The system is broken and the longer this spiral of deteriorating waiting times continues, the harder it will be to fix it.
“It is outrageous that Northern Ireland has got to the situation where it is just taken for granted that our health service is going to keep getting worse with every passing month. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but the ideals of the NHS providing safe, quality and sustainable healthcare appear to be over in the meantime.
“It is despicable that just when all local Political Parties should be coming together and recognising the gravity of the situation, Sinn Fein continue to put more value on an Irish Language Act ahead of the safety of local patients. Michelle O’Neill, as a former Health Minister, will know exactly the devastating impact the current impasse is having on patients and their families. The fact that she and her Party are content to politick ahead of helping people in their hour of greatest need tells us all we need to know about their warped priorities.”