Lord Empey: Health powers should be transferred to Westminster on humanitarian grounds

Health powers should be returned to Westminster temporarily on humanitarian grounds, Lord Empey told the House of Lords
Health powers should be returned to Westminster temporarily on humanitarian grounds, Lord Empey told the House of Lords

During the passage of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill in the House of Lords this week, I called for health powers to be returned to Westminster temporarily, on humanitarian grounds.

Quoting from the latest publication of waiting lists for outpatient and inpatient treatment as well as A&E performances, I said that real harm is being done to people in Northern Ireland by the continuing deterioration in waiting times.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

The inability of health trusts to fill over 5,600 staff vacancies is also leading to the closure of beds even before we reach the winter crisis points in the early new year.

The government continues to stonewall any requests for a new direction, and there were calls from all sides of the House for new thinking.

It was clear that the government will have great difficulty in resisting calls for action should it be required to return to Parliament with further sticking plaster legislation in the New Year.

Lord Empey, Ulster Unionist Party chairman, House of Lords, London