Ulster Unionist health spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has stated that A&E waiting times in Northern Ireland would “simply not be tolerated” in any other part of the United Kingdom.
In a statement, Mr. Beggs said: “Between April 2018 and March 2019, 88 per cent of patients in England were treated or admitted within four hours, according to NHS England data.
“The figure for all the main emergency units across Northern Ireland for just the month of March 2019 was 62.3 per cent.
“Whilst it’s marginally better than what it was in March 2018, any attempt by the local Department of Health to proclaim some sort of accomplishment would be totally misplaced.
“Doctors in England have been warning that patients are ‘dying prematurely’ amid ‘intolerable’ hospital delays there. I am frightened to think what those same doctors would have to say about ours.
“I have repeatedly said that our local hospital waiting times would cause outrage and be a scandal if they occurred anywhere else in the United Kingdom, yet absolutely nothing is being done to tackle them.
“We still don’t have enough beds, we still don’t have enough staff and we still don’t have enough adequate care packages in the community.
“Luckily we had a very mild December and this winter’s strain of the flu was not nearly as virulent as last year’s. That serves to demonstrate however just how serious the problem could have been.
“Unless the imminent cross party talks lead to the immediate restoration of an Executive and a local health minister, Direct Rule must be introduced.
“Someone, either here or at Westminster, ultimately needs to be placed in a position to take urgent decisions for the benefit of patients.”