'˜Health system paralysed by political failure'

For many years I have been outlining the need for our Health System to be reformed and sadly this need becomes more and more apparent with each passing week.

Saturday, 16th December 2017, 7:00 am
Mark H Durkan

Even more sadly, given the political stagnation we have at the moment, much-needed solutions do not seem any closer.

It is not an overstatement to say that there is a crisis engulfing our health system and we have seen its very public manifestation again over recent weeks in the debacle over health workers’ pay, and reports identifying glaring issues with our nursing workforce and social care, increased pressures on GPs and community pharmacy and ever-growing waiting lists.

Currently, the system is failing patients and health workers alike. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a constituent evidence of the need to do things differently.

In the absence of a health minister and Executive, the crucial decisions that need to be made are not being made. Our health system has been paralysed by political failure.

Money earmarked for investment in the health service transformation in the ‘Tory/DUP Deal’ has not been drawn down and it remains to be seen when and how it can be spent.

Shockingly, none of the £50m promised for mental health has been released as services here struggle to cope with a tsunami of mental health issues and their effects.

It is galling when we see how other regions are progressing while we stand still.

In England, there is to be £300m investment in mental health in schools – a massive step towards building resilience in our young people and better equipping them to deal with what life might throw at them in the future.

We need an Executive here to make bold decisions and take positive actions that will best serve people here. All parties must prioritise the creation of a health service that is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.