Alliance Warns Waiting List Figures Demand Fundamental Change

Alliance has warned that the latest waiting list figures demonstrate the need for fundamental change.

The party's Health spokesperson, Paula Bradshaw MLA said a comprehensive change to our approach to public health is required as there is no further time to wait.

The South Belfast MLA said that the public "must never become immune to waiting list figures" and that everytime the figures are released it presents "an endlessly bleak picture from which we will find it harder and harder to recover".

In a statement Paula Bradshaw MLA said:

"What they do tell us is that the idea we can restore a public health system which is accessible and responsive just by doing more of the same is utterly wrong. Unfortunately, they also tell us that action to bring down waiting times based on an assurance two years ago that they would be tackled decisively by the middle of the decade has, for the most part, not been effective. However, there are actions we can take speedily to bring down waiting lists.
News Image
"The first thing we can do is invest more rapidly in primary care, and particularly in multi-disciplinary teams and reformed GP contracts, so that there is an incentive to treat people at the very point of access rather than after referral. That way, fewer people would be placed on waiting lists in the first place.

"The second thing we need to do is improve our data vastly. The fact is that waiting lists are not properly policed. We do not have a clear idea of who is on them, whether they have actually been diagnosed or treated (either privately or as part of another procedure), or even whether the treatment or diagnostics they are waiting for are still relevant to them. The lists need to be properly audited to give us a clearer idea of where interventions would be most effective.

"The third thing we can do is come up with an individual plan for each area where people are waiting. It should not be possible, for example, to tackle the waiting times for cataract procedures simply by using all the facilities we have in Northern Ireland to carry them out and only then putting in place an implementation plan.

"Fundamentally, however, it does require us all to embrace both the principles and recommendations of the Bengoa reforms and also of reforms in social care if we're to save thousands of people from languishing on waiting lists.

"We need a new Executive in place as soon as possible, getting on with the transformation agenda, and for the sake of all those who rely on our health service, we should absolutely be in a hurry."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

24 January 2024
Belfast City Airport Donates Over £17,000 To AWARE NI
Belfast City Airport has supported AWARE NI with donations totalling £17,774 over a two-year official Charity Partnership.
17 January 2024
People Urged To 'Keep Themselves Safe' This Thursday
People across Northern Ireland have been urged to "keep themselves safe" on Thursday, with snow and ice forecast and widespread disruption to public services anticipated as a result of strike action.
14 February 2024
Health Minister Unveils New Women's Health Action Plan
Health Minister Robin Swann has unveiled a new Women's Health Action Plan, designed to "pave the way" for a longer-term comprehensive Women's Health Strategy.
31 January 2024
Alliance Backs Call To Save Health Service Dentistry
The Alliance party has backed an urgent call from 720 dentists to save Health Service dentistry, particularly focusing on the reform of dentist contracts.
23 January 2024
Women Reminded Of Importance Of Cervical Screening
Ahead of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January), the Public Health Agency has issued a reminder to women of the importance of attending for cervical screening when invited.