Social Democratic and Labour Party MLAs Cara Hunter and Matthew O’Toole are to seek an urgent meeting with the Finance Minister and Health Minister as further details of the extent of the waiting list crisis are published today.
SDLP Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter MLA said that this is the biggest crisis facing people in Northern Ireland and it must be the most urgent priority for political leaders.
SDLP Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter MLA said:
“With 335,042 patients waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment and more than half of patients waiting for over a year on an inpatient or day case admission our health service is at breaking point. The only thing keeping the system going right now is the dedication of our front line staff.
“We all recognise the crisis in our health service and with waiting lists in particular, but the latest data underlines the scale of it and paints a distressing picture of the future for people in need of treatment now.
“This year’s Budget does not set out a plan to deal with the multiple crises facing our public services – including the Health service. That is unacceptable. Having raised our concerns about waiting lists not being made a priority in the debate on the Budget this week, my party colleague Matthew O’Toole MLA and I have written to Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Health Minister Robin Swann to request a meeting with them urgently on this issue.”
SDLP Finance Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole added:
“All of us sitting in the Assembly should feel ashamed when we listen to the testimony of people on our waiting lists. These numbers are genuinely shameful and inexcusable.
“We have the worst waiting lists on these islands. Yet, last week the Finance Minister delivered a budget that totally failed to address them in a meaningful way.
“Our party wants to work with the Finance Minister and Health Minister on a strategy for long term systemic transformation in our health service, including proper budgeting and multi-year investment.”