A Carrickfergus mum has pleaded with politicians to resolve the current deadlock at Stormont after discovering her daughter faces a year-long wait for vital spinal surgery.
Karen Fleming's daughter Megan (14) was diagnosed with scoliosis, a condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve.
According to the NHS, scoliosis most often starts in children aged 10-15, and can sometimes be treated with a back brace.
Occasionally, however, spinal fusion surgery is required.
During a recent appointment at Musgrave Park Hospital, it was discovered that the curvature of Megan's spine had increased from 77 to 100 degrees in less than a year.
A post on Karen's Facebook page read: "She is now on the urgent list which is a year waiting list. In nine months she went up nearly 30 degrees, so what will another year bring?
"We asked to be transferred to England to get seen quicker, but because we have no government all transfers are halted. To be seen privately is £50,000 and we could get surgery very quickly.
"Our NHS system is seriously screwed up - a year to wait meanwhile Megan will no doubt deteriorate; extra stress on her heart and lungs and [the] curve will get worse."
In an interview with BBC News, Karen also revealed that she and her family were told that current orthopedic waiting lists are only getting longer.
The local mum, from the Minorca area of the town, pleaded with local politicians to resolve the Stormont deadlock and end the "unbearable" delay for her daughter, who is a keen dancer.
"To all the MLAs of Northern Ireland please, can you seriously have a word with yourselves," she said. "This is a 14-year-old needing urgent surgery and because [there is] no Stormont our waiting lists are out of control, there are no transfers to other hospitals and people including my daughter are affected.
"To see your daughter physical, emotionally and mentally drained is unbearable; we as parents have to push to get the best for our kids."
Meanwhile, Megan's aunt Elaine McCrum has set up an online campaign to raise the £50,000 required for Megan to have the surgery privately.
"If the NHS is quicker, all monies will be donated to other scoliosis warriors," Elaine wrote.