17/04/2024

Funding And Action Plan Needed For Children's Health Waiting Lists

Funding and an expertly researched action plan are needed to address children's health waiting lists if Northern Ireland is to avoid developing a two-tier health system.

This was the message Alliance Health spokesperson Nuala McAllister MLA following the publication of a new report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

The report details that waiting lists rose by 172% for general outpatient care over the course of seven years. It also reported there being a record high of 22,272 children waiting to be seen, representing a 22% increase in the space of a year.

North Belfast MLA, Nuala McAllister said: "Both as a member of Health Committee, and as a parent to two young children myself, the gravity of what's been highlighted in this report is far from lost on me.
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"Those who can afford to are choosing not to wait, and many are being forced to turn to the private sector for their child's healthcare, effectively creating a two-tier health system in Northern Ireland. This simply isn't acceptable.

"Experts from organisations such as the RCPCH are telling the Department what can and should be done in terms of cutting down these waiting lists. Of course, we need the appropriate funding and multi-year budgets, but there also needs to be transparency and accountability around where that funding is going to go.

"That is why we also need an action plan, reflective of this expert advice, laying out how any funding is going to be used to achieve the change needed. Without that, the crisis just going to deepen.

"Alongside my colleague Danny Donnelly, Vice Chair of the Health Committee, we will continue to liaise with RCPCH and others to chart the best course forward in improving health outcomes for children across Northern Ireland."

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