Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has experienced first hand the frustration of patients and front line staff at Belfast City Hospital. The Upper Bann MLA, who is currently progressing an Organ Donation Bill at Stormont, was attending an appointment with her son Mark.
Jo-Anne Dobson said:
“This morning Mark and I, alongside 140 renal patients at the City Hospital, witnessed first-hand the immense pressure our health system is currently under. “If it wasn’t for the magnificent Dr Aisling Courtney and the dedication of the hospital's front line staff, whilst under considerable financial strain, things would have descended into total chaos.
“We joined the queues ahead of Mark’s 8.30 appointment and were eventually seen at 10, but from what I have heard we were the lucky ones.
“Patients in the renal clinic were packed into a waiting room. We were told that over 140 vulnerable transplant patients were booked in; this is absolutely no way to treat those who have high blood pressure and are vulnerable to infection. I know this issue has also spilled over to other out-patient clinics as well.
“I knew many of these patients personally and whilst talking with them while we waited it was clear their real sense of frustration and indeed anger.
“Staff were also coming up to me telling me about the financial turmoil they and their families have been placed in because of the payroll problems which are currently affecting 7,000 NHS frontline staff.
“One staff member told me he had received just £2 in his wage packet because of the major systems failures which have been going on since the end of last year.
“This is absolutely no way to treat patients and hardworking health service staff who are dealing with serious medical issues. The Health Minister needs to urgently take responsibility, step up and sort this mess out.”