There is no correlation between NHS waiting lists and the Northern Ireland Protocol
A letter from Samuel Morrison:
When I read Ben Lowry’s piece on the BBC questioning if waiting lists are more important than the Northern Ireland Protocol I wondered when the BBC challenged Inn Fein when they were keeping Stormont down over demands for Irish language legislation while waiting lists grow (‘Ben Lowry: It is clear that Edwin Poots is not taking the DUP in a remotely hardline direction,’ June 5, see link below).
As I recall they didn’t.
It’s not a legitimate question to ask if waiting lists are more important than the protocol and should be called out as such.
If political capital shouldn’t be invested in the protocol because of waiting lists why should it be invested in Irish?
But let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is an honest question.
Should we focus on waiting lists or the protocol?
First of all, there is an onus on the person asking to prove there is a correlation between the protocol and reduced waiting lists. That’s nonsense.
The reverse is true.
As highlighted by your paper, because of the protocol a drug for the treatment of cancer was limited in Northern Ireland in a way it wasn’t in Great Britain (‘Cancer care hit by Irish Sea border,’ May 14).
Come the end of this year the protocol will cut us off from the rest of the NHS in important respects.
Secondly, if there is an assumption behind the question that unionist agitation on the protocol is a risk to devolution there is an onus on the questioner to prove a correlation between devolution and reduced waiting lists. That’s also nonsense.
Again, the reverse is true.
Since devolution was restored in 2007 we have lost in the region of 2,000 hospital beds and the associated staff.
Since devolution was restored waiting lists have exploded, not reduced.
If devolution is about cutting waiting lists it is a miserable failure.
If waiting lists are the yardstick it’s a convincing argument to bin Stormont, not keep it.
Samuel Morrison, TUV, Dromore Co Down
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