Sir Jeffrey – “proper long term plan needed for hospitals”

At the invitation of the Northern Trust, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Health spokesperson Pam Cameron MLA spent time this evening with staff working in the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Antrim Area Hospital.

By Pam Cameron MLA

South Antrim

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Speaking afterwards Sir Jeffrey said,

"Our National Health Service is something we all treasure and I want to see it not just protected but strengthened. Listening directly to staff on the front-line it is clear that Covid is one of many pressures facing our hospitals and wider healthcare system. We witnessed those pressures first-hand, with over 100 people in ED and at least 30 of those waiting for more than 12 hours.

I want to see a proper plan in place to help our hospitals and staff cope as we move into the winter period. Most certainly a greater focus must be on those who can’t get a care package.

Unfortunately, the introduction of Covid passports won't make a significant difference to the pressures faced by these Emergency Department staff or on ambulance response times. We need short-term action to reduce the pressures on hospitals coupled with long-term reforms.

Tacking the fundamental problems must be a priority and ensuring healthcare workers are given the pay they rightly deserve is a key part of this in terms of the recruitment and retention of staff.”

Pam Cameron added,

"Reform of the Health Service is long overdue but it cannot be delayed any longer. That will entail difficult decisions, but strategic and necessary reform will have the full backing of DUP representatives. Actions which will have a meaningful evidence-based impact on Covid transmission and hospitalisation are obviously necessary but focusing solely on Covid will mask the underlying issues.

Solving the crisis in domiciliary care must be the first step in a long-term plan. With at least 300 patients currently unable to be discharged because care packages are not in place it creates a cascade effect throughout the system and on staff who continue to perform heroics every day."

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