SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said that the long wait for ambulances is yet another symptom of our crumbling health service.
Mr McGrath was speaking after a man who waited over nine hours for an ambulance died.
He said the only way the problems within the health service could be properly addressed would be with reform and urged the DUP to end their boycott of the Stormont institutions.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who died while waiting over nine hours for an ambulance. We need to ensure what happened is fully investigated and the family get the answers they will no doubt be seeking. This is a tragic story that lays bare the depth of the crisis within our health service that has left patients facing longer and longer waits for care, without the guarantee they will be seen in a safe and timely manner. We’ve known that waits for ambulances have been getting longer for some time, particularly in rural and isolated areas and it’s sadly inevitable we will see more cases like this without an urgent intervention.
“We are not going to be able to transform our health service overnight, civil servants left carrying the can at Stormont are doing their best, but the only way we are going to address these issues is through long-term reform. We have known that our health service could not continue as it is for many years and our failure to deal with these problems, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, has left us in the position we find ourselves today.
“To implement the necessary reform we need a Health Minister and MLAs at Stormont doing their jobs. With each passing day the DUP’s boycott becomes more unjustifiable with severe impacts for people across the North who voted in May for politicians who promised to deliver for them. We cannot continue as we are, the situation can’t be allowed to deteriorate any further with serious consequences for patients and staff.”