Local charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke are asking all the major parties to commit to tackling the waiting list crisis in Northern Ireland.
“We have had another set of quarterly figures showing precisely how bad the waiting list situation is in Northern Ireland, but we don’t know if all the main political parties are fully committed to dealing with it.”
Commented Neil Johnston, the Public Affairs and Policy Manager at NICHS.
“We have 3,000 people in Northern Ireland waiting over a year to see a cardiac consultant. We have over 600 cardiac patients waiting over a year to be admitted. Clearly the health of many of these people will be deteriorating while they wait.”
“At the same we know that the number of cardiac CT scans and coronary angiograms carried out dropped significantly due to Covid – literally thousands of procedures that would normally have been carried out have not happened. Again, this means that effectively the health of thousands of people has been put at greater risk. We appreciate staff are at ‘full stretch’ due to Covid but the focus must be on what we can do to improve things in the future”
“It simply isn’t enough for the political parties to say how terrible things are – we know that – we need them to tell us that they are determined to fix the problem. The Minister, Robin Swann announced in June of this year that with £700m he could fix the problem in 5 years.
“We need to know does the cross party support exist to make this happen? Everyone in Northern Ireland knows that the problems in our health service have been building for years we need to know that all the parties – DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance as well as the UUP are going to make solving this problem the priority of not just the current Executive but the next one too.”
NICHS also pointed out that the recent budget gave the Executive detail of its financial resources for the three years enabling them to make financial plans covering the next three years.