Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has called on Sinn Fein to end their boycott of the Assembly, or for the Secretary of State to immediately step in and appoint a direct rule Health Minister.
Roy Beggs said:
“Our health service is in the midst of a deepening crisis. With waiting lists continuing to grow longer every month and now with key members of the front-line workforce taking industrial action, it's outrageous at this crucial time there is a political vacuum at the top of the Health Department.
“With vital diagnostic appointments now being cancelled, it is long past the time for Michelle O’Neill to take notice of the consequences of her party’s continuing obstruction.
“This week the decision of the Health Trusts to cancel diagnostic procedures will add a further 10,000 to the already, unacceptably long waiting lists.
“For several years nurses have been highlighting their concern at the numbers of vacancies and the over reliance of Health Trusts on temporary nursing staff and locums. Yet nothing still has been done.
“A Health Minister with the authority of government is urgently needed to help bring the dispute over staffing levels and pay disparity to an end.
“It is more than evident that patients are suffering as a result of the political impasse, with some even coming to further harm. The absence of a Minister simply cannot be tolerated any longer.”