SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said that addressing long waiting lists for health treatment must be a top priority for any restored Executive and Assembly.
He was speaking after the publication of the latest waiting times by the Department of Health.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“Despite small progress in some areas, the average waiting times patients in the North face for important medical treatment is shocking and a damning indictment of the failure to properly tackle the issues that exist within our health system. I know that efforts are underway to tackle these problems, but without an Executive and Assembly in place it’s hard to see how we can make serious progress in the near future.
“Patients are currently waiting years for appointments and key targets to ensure people are seen in a timely manner are routinely being missed. Our health staff are doing their best in the most difficult of situations, but patients are being left languishing on waiting lists, with their conditions often getting worse in the interim, causing serious anguish for them and their families.
“We have heard much talk about restoring the Stormont institutions in recent days and the potential for further funding. Key to these plans must be properly resourcing our strategy for health service transformation and reversing the cuts imposed by the Tory’s austerity budget. We need politicians to get back to work so that we can finally do what’s necessary to save our health service and cut these waiting lists.”