Ulster Unionist leader, Robin Swann MLA, has warned that meaningful reform of the Health Service cannot be implemented without a functioning government in place and that`s why it is imperative that all parties are brought back around the negotiating table as soon as possible.
Mr Swann said:
“Whilst it was good to welcome Professor Bengoa back to Northern Ireland to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the formation of the NHS, his visit is also a timely reminder of the impact that the lack of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly is having.
“Professor Bengoa was probably being too polite to say what he and a lot of other people were thinking. You cannot reform the health service without a functioning government. It is now imperative that the five parties that were in the room listening to Professor Bengoa this morning take heed of the message of what`s needed in our health service.
“All the political parties should be serious about getting talks up and running again and getting back around the negotiating table, but particular responsibility falls upon Sinn Fein and the DUP. They can`t hide forever from their responsibilities. And if either aren`t up to it and want to tie us into a political limbo for the foreseeable future, then the rest of us should be allowed to move on.
“Northern Ireland and its people need an Executive and Assembly up and running with a Health Minister in place to plan and direct the transformation which is needed in our health service. Otherwise, patients will continue to come to harm and as Professor Bengoa made clear, we could be facing the equivalent of a winter flu crisis every day in the Health Service.”