Political personnel changes a ‘distraction’ from waiting list crisis

health colum eastwood waiting lists

Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has described political bargaining and speculation about Ministerial positions as a ‘distraction’ from the biggest domestic crisis facing people and health services in Northern Ireland.

The Foyle MP said that changes in political personnel are irrelevant to hundreds of thousands of people waiting for medical treatment.

Colum Eastwood MP said:

“Political leaders in Northern Ireland need to regain focus on the biggest crisis facing people and health services here. Over the last few days, speculation about political personnel changes or bargaining ahead of the nomination of a new First Minister has been allowed to distract from the dire situation facing people waiting for medical treatment.

“Exactly who sits around the Executive table is irrelevant if Ministers are not relentlessly focussed on helping people who have been waiting for years, many of them in pain, for medical care. Only last week the scale of the crisis was starkly revealed in the latest waiting time statistics. But we have yet to hear from the First Ministers or the Finance Minister that the resource needed, up to £200m every year for the next five years, will be provided to decisively address this challenge.

“While others are obsessed with political positioning, the SDLP’s Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter MLA has written to surgeons, doctors and nurses to request a series of urgent meetings to build a consensus around what happens next. Helping people on waiting lists is our number one priority. It should be the top priority for all parties.”

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