Sugden concerned about waiting lists

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Health Minister Simon Hamilton has announced a further £30m of additional funding to go directly towards tackling waiting lists.

The annoucement has been welcomed by MLA Claire Sugden, but the East Londonderry politician has described measure as a ‘short term’ fix.

She said: “This will provide immediate relief, but it is not the long term solution which we need.

“£40M was invested last November to tackle hospital waiting lists, this money had to be spent in a very short space of time and professionals were expected to implement changes immediately.

“In reality, as they were striking names off the top of the list dozens more were being added at the bottom.

“There are many very sick people who are waiting for tests and procedures. It is not good enough that at an already worrying time, waiting lists are causing more anxiety for families.

“There are year on year pressures mounting in the health service. With an ageing population and a growing prevalence of chronic illness, we need a long term strategy that brings stability. The current stop start approach is not sustainable.

“My constituency spans both Northern and Western Health Trusts with an acute hospital at the Causeway in Coleraine. We have excellent staff who are run off their feet every day meeting the needs of patients.

“They need assurance that they will be equipped to do their jobs. The Government must listen to those on the ground; they are a key part in the process make sustainable changes within our health system.”