SDLP Mid Ulster Westminster candidate Denise Johnston has said that the DUP and Sinn Fein "should be ashamed" of waiting lists across the health service recently exposed in a Nuffield Trust report.
The Mid Ulster Westminster candidate said that people cannot understand why two parties are putting their selfish political interests ahead of the wellbeing of patients.
She said: "This damning research has highlighted once more what we already know, our health service is at breaking point. One in five people across the North are on a waiting list for elective care. That is a disgrace and it’s causing significant distress to patients.
“These statistics are deeply distressing. People in North are at least 48 times as likely to wait more than a year for care than the closest waiting time in Britain. That is an outrage.
"We cannot overstate the huge impact these waiting times are having on people and their families.
"This is affecting people's ability to work, to live their lives and inevitably proves detrimental to people's mental health as a result.
“This is the starkest evidence we have seen - and we see more evidence every day - of the drastic and urgent need for the transformation of our crumbling healthcare system. Our waiting lists are 100 times bigger than a country with a population 30 times ours. Where is the outrage from the DUP and Sinn Fein? Where is the action? Where is the accountability? People cannot understand why some politicians are putting their selfish political interests ahead of the wellbeing of patients.
“This should be more important than petty political advantage.
"A locally accountable health minister, scrutinised by a health committee, would not be a silver bullet for change but they would provide leadership and have the capacity to unlock urgent funding and make key decisions. It is no longer acceptable to sit this out. Our patients are suffering. Those parties refusing to compromise, or to accept the reasonable compromise we have offered, should explain themselves to the public. Parties must come together to resolve this impasse. We will stretch ourselves again to deliver for all of our communities.”
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