Green Party Westminster Candidate Cllr Cadogan Enright slammed the “pretend politics” of the four party coalition at the Stormont Executive on Health Services.
Cadogan Enright said “The SDLP, DUP, Sinn Fein and UUP are actually in coalition together, so cutbacks or “reviews of maternity services” are happening as part of an agreed programme for government. Not a matter of disagreement between them.”
“Daisy Hill hospital in Newry and Downe Hospital in Downpatrick, at each end of the South Down constituency, share a story of repeated attempts to cutback by Belfast based bureaucrats. We can see that Daisy Hill is positioned to have a strategic roll in the border region which has not been facilitated to date.”
Cllr Enright continued, “Green ‘bottom up politics’ aims to delivering services locally. Patients in Belfast hospitals are blocking beds but refused transfer to Downpatrick while beds in Downpatrick are being closed. Trolley waits are back in Belfast hospitals at weekends, so why aren’t Daisy Hill and Downpatrick capacities being raised?
“We make a distinction between a cutback and efficiency savings. Cutbacks always affect dedicated local services. The concentration of services in Belfast has been discredited. Minister McGimpsey recently announced another review of maternity services across Northern Ireland and has drawn fire, but when the main parties criticise the Minister over spending cuts they pretend to us that they are not a member of the four party coalition which have agreed to all this as part of their ‘Programme for Government’.”
“Efficiency savings do exist. A recent ministerial reply indicated that the Health Service in Northern Ireland employs 57 press officers. This is reminiscent of Northern Ireland Water winning the PR Team of the Year Award last December while causing 114 out of 119 pollution incidents in our area!”
“I would also call for a review of consultants contracts. There can be no case for private health care running in tandem with public health care delivered by the same people in the same locations. This must stop and NHS consultants need to be employed directly by the NHS as in countries like Germany where the public health service works and is affordable to the public purse,” concluded Cllr Enright.