DUP Accused Of Blocking Health Service Reform

The DUP's refusal to return to the Assembly and Executive is blocking health service reform, SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said.

Mr McGrath said long-overdue reform was being delayed because of the DUP’s boycott of the institutions and that patients would suffer as a result.

Speaking after Health Minister Robin Swann issued a warning about the financial state of the health service, South Down MLA Colin McGrath said: "This dire warning about the impact of the current financial uncertainty on our health service lays out what I’ve been saying for months – without a functioning Executive and Assembly we will be unable to meaningfully advance the reforms that have been necessary for many years at the pace now needed and patients and staff will suffer as a result.
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"Despite numerous efforts to put these reforms in place we have been repeatedly thwarted by the collapse of our institutions and the Covid-19 pandemic has rendered the situation critical. The SDLP has consistently sought to put in place policies that will achieve better health outcomes and deliver a better health service for all in our society. Whether this is in reducing our waiting lists, improving access to mental health services and finally sorting out the issues relating to pay and working conditions for our staff.

"These are just a number of our proposals to commence the transformation process and improve outcomes for patients, but in the absence of an Assembly and the ongoing DUP boycott this process remains in stasis. Nobody in the North is getting seriously ill or passing away as the result of the Protocol and it’s disgraceful that these reforms are once again being held up because of political parties and their own self interests."

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