Get NI Executive up and running: Derry GP

A Derry doctor says it’s time to get the powersharing Executive at Stormont back up and running.

Dr Tom Black, who is chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) in NI, spoke out amid the DUP’s ongoing boycott of the Stormont institutions and a worsening crisis in the country’s health service.

Dr Black is urging politicians to get back round the table and work together to address the ‘huge issues’ facing NI’s health and social care system.

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“It is now almost a month from the elections to the Stormont Assembly but, unfortunately, we are still without a functioning Executive,” he said.

Dr Tom Black.

“While time may be standing still on the hill, it isn’t the same for patients. Every day, more people will speak to their GP and some of those will, then, be referred on for more treatment or investigations in hospital. Unfortunately, a lot of those people will be waiting an unacceptably long time for those appointments.”

Dr Black says it is imperative the Executive is back up and running as a matter of urgency.

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“There are multiple plans in place to address some of the huge issues in our health service but, without an Assembly, nothing can be progressed.

“While the Health Minister from the previous mandate is still in post, in many ways his hands are tied to take major decisions.

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“I would strongly urge the parties to work together to resolve outstanding issues and get the Assembly back to a fully functioning one that can address waiting lists and the many other issues our health service faces.”

The North’s Health Minister recently set out a range of initiatives to treat more patients on waiting lists - allocating £46m. for the first six months of 2022/23.

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Northern Ireland currently has the longest hospital waiting lists in the UK.