Sir Jeffrey pledged his party’s support to deliver much needed transformation and urged the Minister to urgently bring forward firm plans to rebuild the health service as we emerge from the pandemic.
Sir Jeffrey said,
“I welcome today’s opportunity to discuss with the Health Minister the very real and pressing issues facing our health service. I requested this meeting as one of my first actions upon becoming DUP leader because I recognise that our Health Service can be the jewel in our crown but it needs serious attention.
The uniqueness of our health service being free to all is an integral part of the United Kingdom. The concept of us all paying taxes and taking care of each other when in sickness is being lost. Too many people are having to pay for private treatment.
Whilst Bengoa was of its time, Sinn Fein collapsed the government for three years and those reforms largely gathered dust. The DUP-Conservative Confidence and Supply Agreement delivered one hundred million to address waiting lists, fifty million over five years to improve mental health services and two hundred million to support health transformation. Yet, whilst the pandemic has lifted the focus, our services are struggling.
The continued and sustained growth in waiting lists, the cancellation of operations, the difficultly in securing a GP appointment and the threat to our medicine supply caused by the Protocol all have the potential to cause enormous damage.
These issues combined with winter pressures, further the need for the urgent delivery of real and meaningful reform.
Failure to do so will only result in the health service lurching into further disarray.
I want to remove party politics from the health debate. This must be about people not parties. I want to work with the Health Minister to drive through sensible reforms therefore I have asked him to bring forward firm proposals for change.
The measure of any Government is how it looks after its people and cares for the most vulnerable, the service currently being offered falls far short of the standard expected.”