West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

McDermott calls on Health Minister to return to work urgently

Published: 6 October, 2015

Sinn Féin representative Grace McDermott has called on Simon Hamilton and the DUP to listen to the growing concern of the public and health agencies and return to his desk as health minister.

Speaking this week Ms McDermott said,

"The general public and an ever-growing number of senior health professionals are calling on the former Health Minister, Simon Hamilton, to return to his desk.

"A minister turning up for work 30 minutes a week doesn't cut it in the real world. It is failing patients and is sticking two fingers up to the electorate.

"The Nuffield Trust, the Royal College of Nurses, Unison, GPs and countless members of the public have now called on the minister to return to work. It is time Simon Hamilton and his party listened.

"While the DUP continues to posture, waiting lists grow, vital health legislation may fall and recommendations sitting on the minister's desk are not being addressed.

"What we all need is a full-time health minister at the helm to address the current crisis in the system. In the absence of this our health service will continue to creak under ever-growing pressures being made worse by ongoing Tory cuts to Executive budgets."

Items on Simon Hamilton's desk in his absence include:

· Recommendations on waiting time targets and enforcement

· A business case for investment in Children's Heart Services

· The response to the Commissioning review (how services are bought in i.e. addiction services) described as one of the biggest flaws in our health system.

· Response to the Older Persons Commissioner on minimum standard of care in Care Homes

· Recommendations on 1% pay increase for Health Workers

Legislation that is in danger of falling this Assembly term as it is not being moved includes:

· Regulation of Social Workers

· The Miscellaneous Bill which could allow for an amendment aimed at addressing smoking in cars with children