Ulster Unionist Party Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has urged the new Secretary of State to ditch the policy of his predecessor and directly intervene for the benefit of local patients.
The East Antrim MLA has also warned that following the latest publication of emergency hospital waiting times it is now an almost certainty that the local health service is lurching towards a major winter crisis later this year.
Roy Beggs said:
“This is not a blip, or a short-term problem – our health service is in the midst of its worst ever waiting times crisis and it’s getting worse with every passing day. People are coming to harm because they can’t get the right type of treatment when they need it.
“The fact that more than 2,800 patients in June had to wait longer than 12 hours is frightening not only in its scale, but also due to the fact that June should be traditionally one of the most quiet months in the year for the local health service. It would indicate that our hospitals are going to face immense challenges as the winter flu period approaches.
“We still don’t have enough beds. We still don’t have enough staff and as a result we are still totally dependent on locum staff. We don’t even have enough adequate care packages in the community. Tackling any of these issues would deliver immediate improvements and tackling all three together would be transformational.
“Our health service urgently needs stability and longer-term planning to make these decisions, yet the ongoing absence of Ministers and a local Executive is thwarting that.
“I would urge the new Secretary of State to intervene for the sake of patients and medical workers across the country.”