Bradshaw welcomes use of independent sector to maximise surgery capacity

COVID-19 Health Paula Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the Health Minister’s announcement he will use all available space in both health and social care (HSC) facilities and the independent sector to deliver surgery, in line with her proposal in media interviews this morning.

In a written statement to the Assembly, Robin Swann announced any available theatre capacity across Northern Ireland would be allocated for patients most in need of surgery during the latest COVID surge, seeking to fully maximise HSC and independent sector capacity.

“When we heard of the postponement of cancer surgery this morning because of capacity being breached in health and social care, I immediately proposed the use of the independent sector to maximise space and availability, and ensure surgery and treatment can proceed swiftly in the highest possible number of instances,” she said.

“My thoughts remain with those who heard today, having self-isolated for a week and prepared in advance, their surgery would not proceed in the coming days. This is the penalty for under-investment in reform of health and social care going back to the start of the century, but also for the failure over the past few months to keep levels of transmission of the coronavirus under control.

“The expansion of capacity through this regional approach still does not mean we can easily ensure all surgery and treatment goes ahead as planned. One of the major determiners of that will be people’s willingness to stick to the guidance and stay at home where possible.

“Where we go now is our collective responsibility, but I am pleased to see what I proposed publicly will be put into action swiftly to provide vital surgery and treatment to those who need it.”