McCallister Calls For Positive Action From Government On Health Crisis

South Down Independent Unionist John McCallister has warned of catastrophic consequences facing every family in South Down given the current state of our health service.

Mr McCallister has called for the NI Executive to get their act together fast and start dealing with the real crisis at hand.

[caption id="attachment_43269" align="alignleft" width="390"]Local hospitals may be under pressure as a funding crisis hits the health service. Local hospitals may be under pressure as a funding crisis hits the health service.[/caption]

He said:  “We really are in a deeply worrying place in terms of healthcare and patients’ lives could be at risk. Our Health Minister has said his department faces a £140m shortfall. This problem won’t go away. The Executive needs to remember they are the Government of Northern Ireland and they need to start acting like one.

“We need the Executive to either reform or get to grips on issues such as Welfare Reform, Education and of course Health.

“Health is in meltdown and this problem will affect each and every one of us in South Down. We will see long waits at A&E and at your GP, outpatient times will get longer and patients will have to wait long periods of time for operations and in some cases, people won’t get them.”

Mr McCallister also called for an immediate recall of the Executive to discuss health service funding. He added: “This is a major crisis that needs to be met with a proper political response. Ultimately we need power sharing not shared out power and not power in solo runs. Its time to take responsibility and sort out a major crisis.”

SDLP Health spokesperson Fearghal McKinney has also called for an emergency meeting of the Health Committee in order to address the grave uncertainty that has been cast over the future of health provision in Northern Ireland.

Mr McKinney said: “Whether the current threats amount to either political posturing or a real danger to patient safety here it is the statutory duty of the Health Committee to be informed of all developments and to work towards solutions.

“I have today contacted the clerk of the Committee and the Committee Chair to formally request that a meeting be held as soon as possible and that invites be extended to both Health Minister Edwin Poots and Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride.

“Recent developments suggest a huge funding shortfall in the Health Service and it must be asked whether this will hamper, slow down or even stall Transforming Your Care.

“If this were to happen then the recurring pattern of a multitude of crises in the Health service will become the norm – the Health Committee must act to examine all of the facts and uncover the truth of the current situation.”

To date Health Minister Poots has not released a statement on the funding crisis in the health system and this has added to speculation that the health system could face a meltdown.

NEWS UPDATE:  15.56 – Friday  29 August 2014

The Health Committee is to take evidence from Health Minister Edwin Poots on the financial position within the Department of Health. At its next meeting on Wednesday 3 September, the Assembly Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety will take evidence from the Minister Edwin Poots MLA on the current financial position within the Department. Members will also take evidence from Julie Thompson, Deputy Secretary Resources & Performance Management, DHSSPS and from Dr Michael McBride Chief Medical Officer, DHSSPS. The meeting will take begin at 2pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings and will be open to the public. The meeting will also be streamed live on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.