Ulster Unionist Health Committee member, Michael McGimpsey MLA, has said the publication of two damning reports this week is indicative of the growing crisis across the Northern Ireland health service.
Mr McGimpsey said:
“Earlier this week the Northern Ireland Audit Office revealed that the financial pressures across the Health Service are so severe that last year four of the five Health and Social Care Trusts failed to break even, despite an emergency £115m top-up.
“This shortfall in the budget has directly contributed to worsening A&E waiting times, a collapse in cancer diagnosis and treatment times and a major deterioration in staff morale right across the NHS.
“It is simply unacceptable that the Health Service has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that patient safety is now being compromised.
“The publication of the report from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission includes a number of cases that it found to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of patients. In 2015 that is simply inexcusable. It is now becoming increasingly apparent that conditions right across our local hospitals are in a downward spiral. This decline in service is unacceptable and unfair for patients and staff.
“The new Health Minister, the third Minister to hold that post in the last 8 months, urgently needs to get to grips with the situation. It is imperative that he identifies specifically the funding shortfall and what is necessary to stabilise the system. After previously refuting the warnings of a growing budget crisis across our Health Service, I am in no doubt that he will very quickly realise the error of his ways and ultimately the damage that this prevarication has caused.”