Stephen Farry stated: “Over the past four years, health has been a political football. Debate has been focused on point-scoring rather than addressing the health and well-being of our citizens.
“On a declining resource base, and health care inflation around more expensive drugs and treatments and through changing demographics, it simply not possible to preserve the status quo. Instead, we need to plan for the health needs of the future and make the necessary reforms to achieve this.
“There is a real danger that a future health minister from one party will show the necessary vision but will then be attacked by the other four parties. This simply will not do. Long-term reform needs to be bolstered by a political consensus and buy-in from all of the interest groups, including professional bodies, unions and service users.
“It is for this reason that Alliance has advocated a cross-party working group to discuss and agree major reforms with the Health Service. We believe that this approach should be endorsed by all parties and taken forward by the Executive, irrespective of which party takes the health department. Health is simply too important an issue to become a hostage to politics.”