‘Put patients first and form Executive’ urge medical and business leaders

Organisations representing doctors and nurses from across Northern Ireland have issued a joint call for politicians at Stormont to “put patients first” and form an Executive immediately.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 10:19 pm

The Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association Northern Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and the Royal College of GPs, have said that political instability is putting basic service delivery at risk.

Their appeal follows a similar plea on Wednesday from business organisations.

In a joint statement, the health organisations said: “Our health service is on the verge of collapse.

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Simon Hamilton. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

“We have the longest waiting lists in the UK, emergency departments are overflowing, general practice is in crisis, and we have chronic workforce shortages, alongside burnt-out staff who are contemplating leaving the health service forever.

“The situation could not be more serious.”

“We are appealing to our newly elected representatives to put our health service first, form an Executive without delay and, as a first step towards fixing our health service, agree a multi-year budget to allow leaders to plan and deliver services effectively.”

The statement continued: “We know not having a Government stalls progress.

“We urge all political parties to get back to the table, set aside their differences and work together to address the immediate healthcare needs of all our patients.

“The price of political failure is too severe and will be felt in the worsening health of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Belfast Chamber of Commerce chief executive and former DUP minister Simon Hamilton said his message to the politicians was “get back to work”.

Mr Hamilton said: “We understand that there are difficulties with the protocol, we know that from our own membership that some businesses have struggled with it, others have adapted much better.

“But no one is saying to us that they don’t want to have an Executive. What they should do is get back around the Executive table.”

Similar appeals were made by Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland.