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Health Minister should be ashamed – Dobson

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Jo-Anne Dobson, has said the Health Minister should be ashamed following the latest publication of emergency care waiting times.

Jo-Anne Dobson, an Ulster Unionist Assembly election candidate in Upper Bann said:

“Michelle O’Neill should be ashamed of herself. By presiding over a deepening crisis in our health service, she has effectively abdicated the responsibilities she had as Health Minister to patients.

“The crisis in our local health service is wholly unprecedented. Never before in the history of the NHS have so many people been waiting so long to receive a diagnosis or treatment. Every single aspect of the local health service is under pressure, from the provision of domiciliary care places right up to the outrageous delays that too many patients are experiencing in receiving treatment for life-threatening illnesses.

“It is often said that how our A&Es are performing is a barometer for the wider condition of the health service. The revelation that in December 2016 only 65.4% of patients were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours, when the target is 95%, starkly illustrates the immense and unacceptable pressures currently being experienced.

“Last October when Michelle O’Neill was presenting the Bengoa reforms to the Assembly, she said our health system was at breaking point. Whilst her immediate plans were bereft of substance, detail, and even of targets, she still stated that as Minister she was going to provide the leadership needed to drive change. One of these changes were meant to include the publication in January of a so-called comprehensive plan to tackle the waiting lists crisis. With no agreed budget from the 31st March onwards, and now effectively no Executive in place, this cannot happen.

“The latest publication of hospital waiting times illustrates that the people who will continue to be most affected by the RHI scandal, and the subsequent failure to get our public finances in order, are tragically also those who need our public services - such as the NHS - the most.”

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