SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has said that the annual statistics on activity and waiting times at Emergency Departments are a tell-tale sign that our Health Service is under increased pressure.
He said: “Unfortunately, every time we receive a copy of the latest waiting times for different services across the Health Service, it is no longer a shock when they have deteriorated. They are a tell-tale sign that our Health Service is under increased pressure.
“The latest statistics released today show that the number of people waiting more than 12 hours in Emergency Departments in Northern Ireland has more than doubled in the past year, with 17,347 patients waiting longer than 12 hours in 2017/18, compared to 6,494 in 2016/2017 and 3,109 in 2013/14. This is nothing short of appalling.
“Despite the dedication of hard working staff, working round the clock, our Health Service is continuing to be starved of political and strategic direction and this is impacting on the frontline. The situation is simply unsustainable. The SDLP has long called for and supported an overall transformation of our Health Service and that is what is required to begin to really tackle the issues at the core.
“We should not accept rising waiting times as ‘the norm.’ What is needed is functioning institutions, Ministers in place and plans for transformation followed through on. Our people deserve more than being left to wait for hours in Emergency Departments and on being left trolleys in corridors. Enough is enough. It is time for this political brinkmanship between Sinn Fein and the DUP to end and for the Assembly and Executive to be established.”