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Possible restoration of Stormont welcomed

30 Jan 2024

Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS) hope that the news of possible restoration of Stormont can enable local politicians to address the huge issues facing our Health Service.

NICHS Policy and Engagement Officer, Eugene Reid, said; “We welcome the news that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has gained agreement from his Party members to return to Stormont.”

“Whilst, like numerous of our colleagues from across the voluntary sector, we want to see local, accountable government after a hiatus of almost two years, we must acknowledge the fact that a huge number of issues need to be addressed imminently. An Executive needs to be functioning as soon as possible. Priorities include the agreement of a Program for Government and an establishment of Multi Year Budgets for Health.”

“Policy makers need to consider the workforce issues which are the continuing limiting factor with respect to reform of the service and dealing with waiting lists.”

Eugene continued; “Yesterday NICHS welcomed the publication of a Northern Ireland Audit Office report entitled ‘Tackling the public health impacts of smoking and vaping’. We particularly endorsed the call for the registration of shops selling vapes. Currently, there is effectively a ‘free-for-all’ with anyone free to sell vapes and little effective sanction if they break rules. We need increased resources for enforcement action and a register as a matter of urgency. Vaping amongst young people under 18 has increased markedly and we need to take action to protect children’s health.”

“Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke is urging all Assembly Members to back the registration of vaping shops as well as legislation to bring this in as soon as an Executive and Assembly are restored. This is just one example of legislative change that can be implemented quickly and presumably without major opposition. We urge legislators to push forward with this and other issues without hesitation.”