Following the announcement by the Finance Minister that a 3-year budget will now not be available to the Health Service as a result of the DUP`s decision to collapse the Northern Ireland Executive, Ulster Unionist Health spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, said:
“The health service was depending enormously on the agreement of a multi-year budget. That opportunity has now been cruelly robbed from health care workers, staff and patients.
“Whilst the elective care plan to get on top of waiting lists, the mental health strategy and the cancer strategy had all been funded under the draft budget, the ability to deliver each of those is now uncertain.
“Robin Swann knows better than most the challenges and inequities of the Northern Ireland Protocol, not least with the disruption to medicine supplies. However, the DUP`s decision to collapse the Executive has endangered delivering the investment and certainty that our health service so desperately needs. There are better ways to go about replacing the Protocol which don`t push our Health Service into greater peril.
“Patients were hugely let down by the previous 3-year political impasse – waiting lists spiralled and staff were forced into the reluctant and unprecedented step of taking industrial action. Just as there were detailed plans in place and signs of real optimism within the health service, it’s abhorrent that this latest period of political instability will likely be even more damaging.”