Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill has said the British Secretary of State should stop exploiting the suffering of patients as political leverage in the talks.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“I met with the British Secretary of State Julian Smith today, I told him he could and should immediately resolve the pay issue.
“A solution is available which would end the dispute, but the British Secretary of State is holding back on this in a cynical attempt to pressurise the political parties.
“The attempt to exploit the suffering of patients as political leverage in the talks is disgraceful.
“Julian Smith and the Tory government are responsible for the crisis in our health services as a result of a decade of Tory austerity which has shred our health services’ finances.
“The five main parties are agreed on the solution, to meet the pay issues, to deal with the staffing levels, to bring forward a plan to transform the health service.
“The British government is the only blockage, they should stop using health care workers as pawns in the political process.”