Eastwood: NHS has ‘basically collapsed’ with outcomes that would ‘embarrass third world country’
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The SDLP leader said the National Health Service (NHS) is often talked about in ‘mystical terms’ that do not reflect the reality on the ground.
“My view is that, no matter what, we have to get to a point where we do not just have a Government, which would be a nice start, but have one that delivers for people.
"Where we do not have a society in which a quarter of the population is on a hospital waiting list—and the lists are getting longer. It is scandalous: the health service has basically collapsed in Northern Ireland. It would embarrass a third world country.
"I have people in my constituency going to the Credit Union to borrow money so that they can get private healthcare, because there is no other way to get it,” the Foyle MP told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.
He told the committee that lengthy waiting lists mean the ideals of the NHS are not being realised.
“We talk about the NHS, and we all love the NHS. We love the people who work in the NHS and we talk about it in kind of mystical terms, because the whole point of it is that it is supposed to be free at the point of delivery.
"But if you cannot get access to it, there is no delivery, so you end up paying for it,” he said.