Assembly Members Justin McNulty and Sinead Bradley have expressed serious concerns regarding the ongoing problems being experienced within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust as they learned that the Trust cancelled 222 routine operations between 1st December 2017 and 4th January 2018.

Mr McNulty, the Newry and Armagh representative said, ‘These revelations are shocking but not necessarily surprising. People have been waiting months, even years and often in agony for what should be routine operations. To have them cancelled because our health system cannot cope with seasonal pressures is wrong and deeply concerning.’

‘How often do we hear the expression, ‘Your Health is your Wealth’ and yet we really don’t value it until we suffer from ill health. Those who have had their operations cancelled or postponed have suffered long enough, they are being let down by our health system and indeed our government.’

Daisy Hill Hospital.
Daisy Hill Hospital.

Mrs Bradley, the South Down Assembly Member said, “The Trust have said that significantly higher than expected number of people were admitted to hospital and that this surge in patient numbers impacted on their capacity to proceed with planned surgery.”

‘Recently we met with the Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland who quite clearly illustrated problems surrounding closed beds and challenges on discharging patients requiring care packages.’

‘Our offices hear at first hand how patients, unable to easily access their local GP’s or the Out of Hours Service are increasingly presenting to the Emergency Department as their only point of entry to care. These additional cases challenge already overstretched hospitals, inevitably impact on capacity issues, and result in a breakdown of services elsewhere as demonstrated by the 222 operation cancellations.

Concluding Mr McNulty explained, ‘At present we have no Minister and no leadership. I’m not saying a Minister would be able to go in and do the operations and everything would be rosy. But with a Minister comes leadership, accountability and decision making. A minister could reprioritise resources to ensure this doesn’t happen. It’s long since passed the time our two major parties stopped huffing and puffing, set their differences aside and put people first.’

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