05/01/2018

Assembly Must Be Formed To Tackle Health Crisis

Power-sharing talks must be resumed immediately in an effort to tackle the growing crisis in the Health Service, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said.

The Foyle MLA has called on the UK and Irish government and the leaders of all the main political parties in Northern Ireland to go back to the negotiating table, describing the crisis as "shameful".

Mr Eastwood said: "In a society such as ours, patients should not have to wait for lengthy periods of time for urgent medical care. The situation is not acceptable, sustainable or safe. We cannot just ignore the crisis and hope it will go away. It will not. 
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"I am calling for the immediate resumption of power-sharing talks to restore government here. Patients and frontline health workers cannot wait for the DUP and Sinn Féin to start talking again. The crisis in our healthcare system surely must be a basis for dialogue."

Mr Eastwood went on to say that he was "disappointed, but not surprised" about the recent "bickering" from the DUP and Sinn Féin, who he said are trying to blame each other for the crisis rather than reach solutions.

He concluded: "Whether others choose to accept it or not, health is a devolved matter and it demands a response from those of us gifted with political power. That means we must utilise the power we have here to alleviate the pressures on our hospitals and save lives. 

"For our part, the SDLP believe a rights-based society must too include the right to safe and timely healthcare."

(MH/JP)

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