Waiting times failures going back decades reinforce need for fundamental health reform, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has warned that the failure to hit key Health Service targets for over a decade, and in one notable case not at all, reinforces the need for fundamental reform of Northern Ireland’s health system.

Health Paula Bradshaw

Newly published figures have shown that waits for cancer treatment and planned care have not met targets in Northern Ireland for over 11 years, and that A&E waiting times never have.


The South Belfast MLA stated: “We know that waiting times have a direct impact on likely outcomes for patients, which is why it should never cease to shock us that the public health system is not meeting key targets in this regard.

“It has now been almost 15 years since the 62-day target was met for cancer referrals, something we know has a hugely negative impact on patients whose conditions will inevitably deteriorate during the wait. These waiting times are still heading in the wrong direction. Diagnosis is supposed to be the first day of treatment and recovery but, in too many instances, it is not remotely that.

“It has been well over a decade since any of these waiting time targets were met and, although there is a similarly grim picture across the UK, both the waiting times and the trend are considerably worse in Northern Ireland.

“During that decade we have heard the case for change and recommendations on steps to deliver that change from countless experts, yet we still seem unable to grasp that a small bit of tampering around the edges will not remotely suffice.

“It is time all the parties were back around the Executive table implementing the fundamental reform of our health system we all committed to in 2016, otherwise too many people will continue to wait too long for vital care and treatment.”