Statement by TUV Upper Bann candidate Darrin Foster:
“The current pressures our health service is under, which are particularly stark here in Upper Bann with ambulances being diverted away from Craigavon Area Hospital, cannot be divorced from decisions made in Stormont.
“Since devolution returned in 2007 we have reduced the number of hospital beds by 1,500. We have one of the lowest number of ICU beds per 100,000 of population in the Western world. Having presided over a progressive reduction in the number of hospital beds and the associated staff for years it should come as no surprise that hospitals cannot cope.
“Yet rather than prioritising investment in our health service we face the prospect of millions being squandered on needless legislation for Irish as a result of the deal which the DUP foolishly struck with Sinn Fein.
“Undoubtably the pandemic has added very considerably to the NHS workload but we should not lose sight of the fact that pressures on hospitals did not suddenly arise when Covid-19 struck. There have been policy decision which have added considerably to the pressure on our doctors and nurses. Simply put, the current health crisis comes with a “Made in Stormont” stamp.”