Immediate action on health care crisis requires immediate return of devolution

04 December 2019

DUP Leader Arlene Foster said,

Arlene Foster MLA

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Arlene Foster

"The last three years of boycott and paralysis should have already focused the minds of all parties on the need to restore devolution. However, the crisis in our health service demands the urgent return of the Assembly and Ministers in place to take decisions.

The pressures on our hospitals and on our healthcare staff have been building over the last three years. Whilst we have been able to use our influence in Westminster to delivered an extra £1.5b for public services such as our schools and hospitals, money alone will not fix the problem.  It merely treats the symptoms.

We have now reached a point where there are warnings about patient safety. Faced with that kind of stark warning we cannot allow further drift.

The problems in our health service require a Minister taking decisions, but they will not be resolved by one Minister working in isolation. Whilst the DUP has a 12 Point Plan which includes reforming our hospitals, real change will require all parties working together within the Executive, taking forward a shared long-term vision as set out in Bengoa.

No issue supersedes healthcare both in terms of its importance and the scale of the impact it has on every single person in our society.

I am repeating the call to re-establish the Executive immediately so that decisions can be taken on our Health Service. Agreement can be found on the other outstanding issues within a fixed timeframe. This proposal is the only way to see the kind of immediate action the public demands.

We simply cannot wait for other important, but less pressing issues, to be resolved before we act to help patients and our hardworking healthcare staff."

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