SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said that a stark RQIA inspection report into the emergency department at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) should be a catalyst for change.
Mr McGrath said the problems within our health service cannot not be allowed to deteriorate further due to political failure at Stormont.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“I wish I could say that the findings in this report are shocking, but the reality is that we are all aware of the problems within our health service, what’s needed to address them and the reasons that we have failed to make any significant progress so far. This report shows just how broken our system is and if we don’t act now things are only going to get worse.
“The pressures in RVH and our other hospitals are having a terrible impact on patients and their families, with people in acute need of medical care being left in emergency department corridors waiting for beds to become free. Having to work in that environment every single day is also taking a tremendous toll on staff who are surely coming to the end of their reserves after years of having to make do in extremely difficult situations, with little recognition in the way of fair pay and working conditions.
“These problems will not be solved overnight, but it’s been clear for many years that the transformation of our health service is the only way we will be able to put things right. While this will involve difficult decisions, we must also ensure that no community disproportionately loses out, while working to create a modern health service that treats patients in a timely and efficient manner.
“To implement the necessary transformation we need to see the Stormont institutions back up and running. Every day we delay this move the situation is only getting worse resulting in worse outcomes for patients and more pressure for staff. This situation cannot continue indefinitely, we are rapidly approaching the edge of the cliff and I cannot bear to think what situation will be facing our hospitals and emergency departments this winter if we don't start to implement change."