Ulster Unionist Party Leader Steve Aiken MLA has said it’s time a healthcare emergency was declared in Northern Ireland. He has also demanded that the next Westminster Government immediately intervene and instigate special measures in order to resolve the deepening crisis.
Steve Aiken said:
“Never before in the 70-year history of the NHS in Northern Ireland have things been so serious. With every passing month our waiting times, across almost every speciality and patient type, are getting worse.
“Crisis is no longer a strong enough word to describe what is happening - it’s now a healthcare emergency and it needs to be officially declared as such.
“The latest figures published today expose the scale of the human tragedy gripping the health service. It is unbelievable that out of a population of 1.8m people, 306,000 are on a list waiting to see a consultant. It is outrageous that more than a third of those have been waiting longer than a year.
“It is totally unacceptable that one in 16 people here have been waiting on a list for more than 12 months, compared to one in 48,500 in England.
“It is medically accepted that the longer patients are forced to wait for treatment, the greater the harm they may come to. There is no doubt that the health of local patients is being harmed by these spiralling delays.
“We have, by far, the worst waiting lists in any of the four parts of the United Kingdom. Our waiting times would simply not be tolerated anywhere else.
“Under Lord Empey’s Private Member’s Bill it is now time for health powers to be returned to Westminster. The next Government elected in only two weeks time must then instigate special measures to start addressing the frightening delays in the health service.”