SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath MLA has written to the Head of the Civil Service and the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health this morning proposing an urgent convention of political leaders and health service officials aimed at addressing the crisis in emergency care.
Speaking following warnings from leaders in the health service about the consequences of political failure, the South Down MLA has urged parties to get to work.
Colin McGrath MLA said:
“The situation facing patients and their care providers in emergency departments right now is bleak. I have seen our health service staff move heaven and earth to provide the best possible care for people but the hard truth is that patients are not receiving the level of service that they should. It is no failing of the doctors, nurses and other staff working themselves to exhaustion, the failure belongs to politicians who prevaricate, delay and refuse to provide the leadership that our health service desperately needs.
“Following a difficult weekend for emergency care in particular, I have written to the Head of the Civil Service and the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health to propose that urgent discussions are convened between political leaders, health service leaders and the civil service to address the situation people are facing. We should be under no illusions – the scale of the challenge we’re facing is immense and it will not be solved in the short term but every day we delay is another day people face getting sicker waiting for admission to get the care they need. No one should be prepared to put up with that.
“The only solution is the resumption of devolved government with a full-time Health Minister taking the decisions needed to transform health services. The DUP, who continue to put their own political considerations above the urgent need to fix our health service should explain themselves to the people waiting for admission in communities across the North. It’s time for politicians to get back to work now.”