The South Belfast MLA stated: “Clearly any proposed uplift in health spending at this juncture is welcome, so that we can at least try to tread water.
“None of this, however, alters the need for there to be a Minister in place guiding a transformation process. The system is simply unsustainable in current form and we are rapidly heading towards an even more evident two-tier Health Service with those who can afford to opt out of it in many areas, leaving those who cannot on seemingly endless waiting lists.
“Furthermore, I have written to both the Department of Health and Finance and been assured that money is there for a pay award to workers in the Service but this too requires Ministerial sign-off.
“While the DUP and Sinn Féin continue to play chicken, people who use the Health Service and people who work in it are suffering unjustifiably. It is long past time that there was a Minister in place taking the key decisions to secure a universal Health Service free at point of access for the future.”