Minister Michelle O’Neill this week revealed her Department’s response to the Bengoa Report, which was designed to transform the health service here. However, she received criticism from some quarters for not revealing her targets for bringing down waiting lists.
South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said the Minister should state whether she bid for funding to fight waiting lists, as she had not revealed the information to the Health Committee.
“Earlier this week, Alliance said we would hold the Minister to account and ensure she did not delay any implementation of her plan to reform the health service. However, part of that involves the Minister engaging with the Health Committee, something she did not do before this announcement. Committees are there to not only scrutinise the Minister and the Department, but provide guidance and support in how to deal with pressures, particularly those in the short-term.
“As she did not inform the Committee, the Minister needs to reveal immediately whether she actually bid for funding to tackle the waiting list problem. If she did, was she refused? Growing waiting lists are not only an issue for people on them but wider society, as an inability to bring them down is also detrimental to the economy.
“It is important patients get the correct treatment in a timely manner. If the Minister is not bidding for extra money to tackle waiting lists and then informing the Health Committee as to her actions, it is clear that will not be the case.”