Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has warned that as the gap between demand and capacity in the local health services continues to widen, waiting times will inevitably continue to increase.
Roy Beggs said:
“With demand for elective care services far exceeding current capacity for both new outpatients and inpatient/daycase treatments, it is inevitable that our already appalling waiting times will only continue to increase.
“It is a tragedy on an epic scale that with a population of only 1.8million people, almost 100,000 patients have been waiting for longer than a year to see a consultant. If the same proportion of the population were waiting that length of time in any other part of the British Isles it would be considered a national disgrace and yet in Northern Ireland it appears to be simply accepted.
“Instead of the problem getting better, it’s getting worse. None of the one-off allocations of funding or piecemeal efforts to address the problem are working. For proof of that - each of the Health and Social Care Trusts submitted Performance Improvement Trajectories detailing the expected delivery of core activity in 2018/19, with the majority of Trusts’ plans forecasting an improvement on the previous year’s position. Yet, I have now been informed that the forecast level of activity was simply not delivered in 2018/19 in most of the areas.
“Unless the cross party talks soon come to a satisfactory conclusion and lead to the immediate restoration of an Executive and a local Minister, Direct Rule must be introduced. Someone, either here or at Westminster, ultimately needs to be placed in a position to take the urgent decisions and actions needed for the benefit of patients.”