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Bradshaw secures Committee Inquiry on waiting lists

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has secured a Health Committee Inquiry into waiting lists, as she said the focus must be on actions to bring down waiting lists in both the immediate and longer term.

The South Belfast MLA said: “We can see again from this morning’s waiting list statistics – including a 9 percent increase year-on-year for outpatient appointments, 19 percent for inpatient and 5 percent for diagnostics – that the last year has made an already unbearable situation even worse. That why I have proposed a Committee Inquiry into waiting lists, and I am glad this has been approved.

“We have seen the effectiveness of Committee Inquiries already, as many of the recommendations emerging from the Committee Inquiry into Covid in Care Homes were implemented and contributed to a much more effective handling of the issue in the last few months.

“The Committee will also seek an Executive meeting focused solely on this issue, so that a common five-party approach is agreed.

“Short-term injections of funding may be necessary to tackle some of the issues which emerge from the pandemic, but ultimately until we understand the granular detail of how we got into this mess despite higher per head spending than elsewhere in the UK, we cannot fix the system.

“This is not about playing the blame game about what has gone wrong in the past, but about understanding exactly what interventions are needed alongside the ongoing Transformation Programme to put things right in the future.

“We need to be clear again that if people are waiting years for diagnosis or treatment we do not have a Health Service which can be meaningfully described as ‘universal’, and ability to pay will increasingly determine people’s access. This is something we must put right urgently, and it will take a profound recognition of the need for reform of the system to do that.”