As health and care services across Northern Ireland become stretched beyond capacity, Workers Party Newry and Armagh spokesperson, Nicola Campbell, has called for an ‘immediate reversal of the policy of bed closures.’
Speaking on the issue Ms Campbell said:
“In the last ten years the number of hospital beds in Northern Ireland has dropped by 10%. In the Belfast area, where all the major regional services are based, the figure is a staggering 20%.”
“Locally, the number of hospital beds available in the Southern Trust dropped to a low of 813 a few years ago. That figure has improved slightly but is still well short of the 997 beds available in this area a decade ago.”
“This did not happen by chance. It is the result of successive Ministers for Health and the Assembly cutting back on health service funding and investment. The outcome is that people are dying while they wait for inpatient treatment. In the past five years that figure is in the region of 22,000 deaths”, stated Nicola.
“Everyone should have the right to treatment and care. It should be free at the point of delivery and should be centrally funded and centrally planned. These principles are being increasingly undermined and put at risk. Health and care is a human right and the only way to ensure that our NHS is not run into the grounded and then handed over to private companies is for the right to public health and care services to be enshrined in a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights that will provide protection and guarantees for the service, the staff and citizens.”