Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has said the revelation that waiting times in emergency departments have actually marginally improved since the Executive collapsed reveals how ineffectual recent Health Ministers were.
Roy Beggs, the Ulster Unionist Party Health Spokesperson, said:
“Health waiting times in our accident and emergency departments improved slightly in March compared to the previous year. As this follows a trend over the last 2-3 years of gradually deteriorating waiting times any improvement is a well-overdue step in the right direction.
“The irony is that this small improvement was achieved in a month there was no Health Minister in place.
“Michelle O’Neill was never a good Health Minister. Waiting times spiralled under her watch and she was more concerned with gimmicks and soundbites than actually delivering real improvements for patients. She spoke vaguely of proposals to reform healthcare following the Bengoa Report but this was never converted into concrete actions with an appropriate budget. The fact that she collapsed the Assembly without a 2017/18 budget being approved demonstrated that she had no genuine desire for health reform. The publication of these latest statistics highlights just how negligible and ineffective her policies and efforts were.
“We must not become complacent however; almost every aspect of the health service in Northern Ireland is in crisis. Waiting times remain wholly unacceptable, the gap between demand and capacity is widening each month and morale amongst our health workers is at rock bottom. An Assembly, with a competent and willing Health Minister, would be best placed to take the urgent decisions needed to ensure patients no longer come to harm.”