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Bradshaw says a long way to go on A&E waiting times

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has cautioned the latest statistics for the first three months of 2019 still show there is a long way to go on waiting times in emergency departments.

The South Belfast MLA stated: "The staff in our emergency departments are to be commended again for their work in extraordinarily difficult conditions. Overall, there has been a minor improvement in waiting times in emergency departments versus the equivalent period for 2018, but it is minor because we have still not implemented the fundamental reforms needed.

"In order to bring down waiting times significantly, we need to proceed with the transformation of health and social care to improve access to the healthcare system in the first place and remove pressure from A&E.

"We also need, as a matter of urgency, to address pay and other workforce planning issues in the sector, as too much money is being taken up in paying agencies to provide staff rather than paying directly employed staff adequately and allocating money to proper resourcing.

"We have a review underway but this is a piecemeal response when we need an overall strategy to transform patient access and pathways through the health service. The forthcoming talks process should see this prioritised, as it affects everyone in Northern Ireland."