NORTH Antrim Ulster Unionist Assemblyman Robin Swann has said he hopes 2020 will bring more progress on delivering a quality health service for the people of Northern Ireland.
In his New Year message to the North Antrim constituents, Assemblyman Swann, who was also a Past Chair of the Stormont All Party Committee on Congenital Heart Conditions, said there was still “a long road ahead” to guarantee a lasting solution to the problems facing the Province’s health service.
“In past years, we have made some tremendous steps forward to provide free nursing care for our elderly population. 2020 should be a year when we build on these benefits. But we can only do so with a reformed Executive at Stormont.
“2020 must also see a determined onslaught to reduce and eventually eliminate the vast jungle of bureaucracy which is steadily strangling our health service.
“We must tackle ‘head-on’ the scourge of a health system which forces patients to endure the stress and tension of the waiting lists.
“The so-called ‘trolley waits’, which have become a regular feature of the new millennium health service, must be eradicated once and for all. We need to have a health service where the ethos of ‘Putting Patients First’ becomes a practical reality, not meaningless words on a memo.
“However, for this to truly succeed, we must see the entire community in Northern Ireland united behind a future working Assembly’s drive to create a more administratively efficient health service.
“This will be the real challenge for us all in 2020, both elected representatives and the community alike. The conscience of the community must be active in eliminating fraud, especially prescription fraud, from the health service.
“It must not be forgotten that because of such prescription fraud, millions of pounds of much-needed health cash is being lost to patients each year.”
Assemblyman Swann said everyone in the Province should make it their New Year resolution to do whatever they can to maintain hope, peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.
He said the return of a legislative government to Ulster was “of the utmost importance as it will help to bring a high level of stability to life in the Province”.
“But in the health sector, in 2020 we may well be facing ‘make or break year’ in combating mountainous problems such as the hospital waiting lists.
“In this respect, we cannot afford to talk about a lasting solution to the health crisis using empty and meaningless rhetoric.
“For the health service to be beneficial for all in the community, we need actions not words, especially from health administrators helping a future Health Minister – whether that Minister is appointed by Stormont or Westminster.”
Assemblyman Swann added that he wished everyone in the constituency a very peaceful New Year and prosperous 2020.
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