NHS patient waiting lists ‘shame’ DUP and Sinn Fein

NHS patient waiting lists ‘shame’ DUP and Sinn Fein

27 November 2019

THE DUP and Sinn Fein should be “ashamed of themselves” given the current state of patient waiting lists, according to SDLP South Down Westminster candidate Michael Savage.

Following the publication of waiting times by independent think tank, the Nuffield Trust, the SDLP man claimed people cannot understand why the two parties are putting their selfish political interests ahead of the wellbeing of patients.

Mr Savage said the Nuffield Trust’s “damning research” has highlighted once more what people already know — the health service is at breaking point.

He continued: “One in five people across the North are on a waiting list for elective care. That is a disgrace and it’s causing significant distress to patients.

“These statistics are deeply distressing. People in the North are at least 48 times as likely to wait more than a year for care than the closest waiting time in Britain. That is an outrage. 

“We cannot overstate the huge impact these waiting times are having on people and their families. This is affecting people’s ability to work, to live their lives and inevitably proves detrimental to people’s mental health as a result.”

Mr Savage said the latest research undertaken by the Nuffield Trust provides the “starkest evidence” of the drastic and urgent need for the transformation of what he described as the “crumbling healthcare system”.

The SDLP candidate declared: “Our waiting lists are 100 times bigger than a country with a population 30 times our size. Where is the outrage from the DUP and Sinn Fein? Where is the action? Where is the accountability? 

“People cannot understand why some politicians are putting their selfish political interests ahead of the wellbeing of patients. This should be more important than petty political advantage.”

Mr Savage argued that while a locally accountable health minister, scrutinised by a Stormont health committee, would not be a silver bullet for change, they would provide leadership and have the capacity to unlock urgent funding and make key decisions. 

He added: “It is no longer acceptable to sit this out. Our patients are suffering. Those parties refusing to compromise or to accept the reasonable compromise we have offered should explain themselves to the public. 

“Parties must come together to resolve this impasse. We will stretch ourselves again to deliver for all of our communities.”