Bradshaw says people will not accept higher taxes while health inefficiencies remain

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said people will not accept higher taxes to fund the health service while gross inefficiencies in the system remain.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the suggestion by former Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board John Compton, who said the only way to tackle the problems facing the service was to raise taxes.

“Alliance fully accepts Mr Compton’s fundamental point that to deliver a universal health service free at point of access more money will be required every year,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“Nevertheless, there will be great and understandable resistance to higher taxation while such gross inefficiencies remain in public services. It is true to say health and social care is underfunded in Northern Ireland versus England, but this is as a direct consequence of the budgetary choices made by the DUP and Sinn Féin. That is what devolution is and they should be judged on their record.

“In addition, for over a decade now Alliance has pointed to the massive cost of division. Even relatively simple moves such as integrating teacher training have not even begun. Again, this wastage is a choice made by other parties in government, with other broader inefficiencies ignored by other devolved Ministers.

“Whatever their merits or otherwise, higher taxes on a population still recovering from recession would simply not be tolerated until we show leadership to deliver the obvious efficiencies – in health and social care itself, in tackling division, and in delivering other savings.”

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