The South Belfast MLA was speaking after a progress report on waiting lists showed a key commitment had not yet been met. The Department of Health’s aim that no-one should wait more than one year for a first outpatient appointment was made under the Elective Care Plan.
“It was notable health reform was seen as a top priority in the recent draft agreement to restore the Executive and with good reason. People on waiting lists are suffering, which is a direct consequence of political failure and inaction on behalf of the two biggest parties,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“In particular, the Department’s own Health and Wellbeing: Delivering Together plan, which had addressing delays in accessing elective care as a key target, has missed its target and clearly needs a Health Minister in place to work.
“Health transformation is in large part about enabling investment in and resourcing of primary care to the extent people access the system more appropriately, with the result fewer people end up on waiting lists to start with.
“This shifting of the focus in the system, accompanied by a greater emphasis on prevention of illness and promotion of wellbeing, is essential and it must be carried through immediately.
“At present, in the current political vacuum, there are far too many aspects to the health and social care sector requiring attention and improvement, and it is long gone time the Executive was re-established to deal with these.”