11 January 2019
DUP Health spokespersons, Foyle MLA Gary Middleton and North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley have said the need for a Health Minister is clear following the findings of Professor Keith Gardiner’s report.
Gary Middleton said,
“The Gardiner report confirms two things – that there is a shortage of medical school places in Northern Ireland and there is a real need for a locally elected Health Minister in place who will push the reforms that are needed.
There is a demand for medical school places and plans for a medical school in Londonderry, which have been shelved as a result of no Executive being in place. Over a year has been lost already in allowing the medical school to progress. If a further a delay is allowed to happen then we will have a situation in which more potential graduates are either waiting to get a place or simply go elsewhere to study and find a job.
For my party health is a priority. Sinn Fein’s party pet projects will not solve issues like this.”
Paula Bradley added,
“We need a holistic approach to deal with the issues relating to health. The report shows how there will need to be a 50% increase in doctors here over 15 years. What we need is transformation in our health service so we can produce a cycle of health professionals and provide a healthcare system which works.
The DUP secured £200million for health transformation through our Confidence and Supply Agreement. This year that is providing £481,000 for medical training initiatives and £460,000 for GP recruitment and retention, as well as many other training and development initiatives. However, what is needed is a Minister in place and an Executive making decisions. The DUP appointed Professor Bengoa and the expert panel. We are determined to see their report fully implemented.
Sinn Fein’s demands are holding Northern Ireland to ransom. It’s time they faced the reality and looked at the impact their decision to check out of Government has caused here.”