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Ritchie calls on Health Minister to take action on Daisy Hill waiting lists

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

SOUTH Down MP, Margaret Ritchie, has called for the Health Minister, Michelle O'Neill, to action to address medical and health waiting lists in hospitals in Northern Ireland.

She said: Long before and during the Christmas period we have witnessed and heard of longer waiting lists in Accident and Emergency Departments of hospitals for patients awaiting treatment and assessment for their illness.

"Already, we are aware of longer waiting lists for urgent emergency assessment and treatment of various serious illnesses. Longer waiting lists now exist for routine assessments and surgical interventions. Informed reports would suggest that this is due to the fact that elective surgery has not been prioritised and that adequate resources have not been provided or identified for it.

"Back in late October, the Minister for Health, as part of her plans for the re-configuration of health service provision which in some cases amounts to centralisation of medical and health services in larger hospital units, informed the NI Assembly and the wider public that a new plan for dealing with waiting lists would be published in January.

"We are now entering the second week of January; waiting lists are getting longer for all types of illnesses requiring assessment and surgical procedures and as yet the Minister has not yet published a plan or strategy to indicate how waiting lists will be reduced and how patients will have greater access to investigations/assessments and surgical interventions.

"Such a delay simply causes further frustration, consternation and anxiety for patients the length and breadth of South Down.

"Quite simply, the Department of Health officials are holding meetings in various venues including Downpatrick and Newry to advise the wider public about the Minister s plans for the re-configuration of the health service. It would be much better if the Minister for Health ensured that the Daisy Hill Hospital, which has a high computerised technological capacity plus accommodation, was allowed access to reduce such waiting lists for various types of health disciplines through the running of a wide range of acute and cardiological clinics at our local Hospital.

"That would provide an immense benefit to local people in the southern section of South Down; make a contribution to the reduction of waiting lists and ensure that the over-burdened nature of the Accident and Emergency Units and Clinics in the Belfast hospitals was minimised.

"I have made urgent representations to the Minister for Health to get on with the job she was appointed to do and thus urged that she concentrates on her job and provides a solution to the ever lengthening waiting lists which would allow the provision of additional acute medical and other additional health services at the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry."

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