Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said that the struggle to contain waiting times in Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care reinforces the need to move on with Transformation swiftly.
The South Belfast MLA stated: “Even before the pandemic, waiting times had reached a level well beyond unacceptable. We have to be very clear that while people are left to wait so long even for basic diagnostics and treatment, we end up with a two-tier Health Service because those who can afford to can pay to skip the queue. Having waiting lists at such an atrocious level therefore breaching the very founding premise of the NHS.
“This means that those who argue for a universal Health Service open equally to everyone regardless of means need to push for the Transformation process in line with the Bengoa principles to be continued and developed as swiftly as possible. This must of course be done accountably, in line with established patient need, but we must be clear that it cannot wait. Only through reconfiguration and modernisation can we bring waiting lists down and restore a Health Service which is actually in line with the founding principles.
“I am concerned that the timescale for delivery in some key areas, such as a cancer strategy or stroke reconfiguration, are slated as delayed due to the pandemic. To some extent this is natural, but the pandemic itself reinforces the point that old methods of working do not deliver. We need to aim high in Transformation, otherwise we will lose our last opportunity to restore a truly universal Health and Social Care system.”