Welcoming the report, which sets out new standards for emergency and elective surgery and plans for 24/7 services, Mrs Cameron said:
‘‘With hundreds of thousands of our citizens on a hospital waiting list, fixing the crisis that has been building in our health service over recent years cannot be kicked into the long grass.
It is absolutely right that we prioritise better and more timely outcomes for these patients. Ahead of May’s election, we set out our desire to separate planned surgery from emergency care, increase the number of specialist sites for elective surgery and usher in seven-day theatre schedules. It is positive to see strong support across the Board for these objectives.
Going forward there is also a need to ramp-up and roll-out multi-disciplinary working and to ensure a stronger, more cohesive and sustainable workforce in general surgery. It is also positive to hear the Minister of Health speaking about using every inch of our HSC estate.
The potential offered by this Review must be harnessed and realised in the days ahead. There cannot be another false dawn for patients desperately seeking treatment and surgery or those working around the clock to provide high-quality standards of care.’’
DUP Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Deborah Erskine added:
‘‘As recently as February, over 26,000 people in Northern Ireland were waiting on general surgery alone. This was the largest single cohort of patients awaiting treatment or surgery in Northern Ireland.
Today’s announcements provide an ambitious blueprint for getting to grips with this spiraling crisis and delivering earlier, accessible and more effective surgical services for those who need them.
These moves, and steps to reconfigure, and extend, services to a 24/7 footing will necessitate political leadership, the right investment and regular consultation with patients, health professionals and local communities. The DUP is committing to playing an integral part in that process.’’