This meeting comes following a period of extreme busyness observed in our hospital A&E wards, with a number of Health Trusts issuing warnings over the last few weeks pleaing for the public to only attend in cases of serious medical emergency.
Paula Bradshaw MLA, Health Spokesperson, said: "The need for full-scale transformation of our health and social care system has never been greater. The pressure point for the failure to embrace and drive forward this reform is being felt so acutely in our Emergency Departments. While the number of patients presenting to A&E departments is worrying, the most pressing issue is the lack of beds for admission. The number of beds available in our hospitals has not kept up with population increases, and it is time that investment is made in building capacity before the situation gets any worse."
Danny Donnelly MLA, who is a nurse by profession and still works some shifts in hospitals at weekends, added: "I see a workforce struggling to meet the needs of the patients coming through the doors of our Emergency Departments. Committed healthcare professionals who are trying their best to provide excellent care and treatment, in an environment where demand simply outstrips capacity at every turn. We need a full-scale plan for addressing the issues felt in social care, through primary care and into our secondary care in hospitals.
“This can only be delivered by a functioning Executive, locally-accountable Health Minister and a democratically-elected Health Committee, which only makes clearer the dire need for the restoration of devolved institutions in NI, and further reform that would ensure we never end up in this state of collapse again."