The DUP need to ‘get real’ on health, says an Ulster Unionist councillor following the latest round of cuts to the health service.
Angered that the DUP failed to show up to a Southern Health Trust public meeting to discuss the cuts, Cllr Julie Flaherty lambasted the party and queried where their representatives were for such a serious issue.
The Ulster Unionist councillor also demanded that the DUP be forthcoming with the £1.5 billion promised during a political deal with the Conservative Party.
Cllr Flaherty said: “Carla Lockhart and her colleagues need to get real. There are legitimate questions to be asked about the dire situation facing our health service. This is a crisis on an unprecedented scale. People are waiting longer than ever for health appointments and patients are coming to harm. The pressure and stress alone is unacceptable for patients, children and parents - many I know are still travelling to England for treatment.”
“That is the stark reality of the current political impasse. Whilst Sinn Fein and their representatives run away from their responsibilities, we in the UUP will not. Even if that means asking hard questions that make others uncomfortable.
“It is wholly legitimate for us to ask questions about funding which could be used to help patients. On one hand Carla Lockhart and her DUP colleagues are telling people about £1.5 billion which they have secured for NI and have claimed that it is not reliant on devolution being restored. If that’s the case, now’s the time to get it spent! This shouldn’t be kept for a future rainy day.
“In terms of the Health Service - this is that rainy day. Patients are losing faith that they will ever see the additional for health coming through. Now’s the time to use it. Just get on with it. Help the Health Service now and show Sinn Fein up for the shameful position they have taken. The DUP claim that they have the keys to the safe - now’s the time to open it.
“The Ulster Unionist Party has been absolutely clear in our opposition to an Irish Language Act and has repeatedly made the point that Sinn Fein should not be allowed to hold people to ransom where their ideology comes before patients’ health. I hope Carla agrees.”