The South Belfast MLA stated: “We are becoming alarmingly immune to news every few months that waiting lists are rising and tens of thousands of people are in fact waiting over a year for vital appointments or treatments. This is utterly unacceptable.
“I strongly share the view of the BMA and others that while extra money to deal with the issue in the short term and use of the private sector to provide some slack are welcome, they are mere sticking plasters. The fact is the system is broken and increasingly people with means are opting out of it altogether – with the result that we can no longer say we have a universal, comprehensive Health and Social Care Service free at point of delivery.
“We should not forget the very human suffering that this means. People on waiting lists face vast uncertainty, great insecurity and significant stress – which in themselves can negatively affect their wellbeing.
“It defies belief that the two big parties continue to play chicken while people are suffering directly. They are setting new records for irresponsibility. It is time to get back to work and deliver the transformation of the Health Service the public so desperately need and deserve.”