Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has urged caution on Emergency Departments waiting time figures.
The party’s health spokesperson said:
“Many health services have been repurposed to meet the threat of a COVID-19 surge and this has seen much-needed appointments and services cancelled. It has also seen a considerable drop off in the number of people attending Emergency Departments at the start of the pandemic.
“This clearly has had an impact on the Emergency Department waiting times.
“The figures only take account of the waiting lists until the end of March which means we have yet to see the full impact of the crisis on the health service.
“The challenge now is ensuring that Emergency services are able to respond to regular levels of need while maintaining a capacity to fight COVID-19.
“One of the main underlying issues is the lack of capacity within the health and social care system to reduce waiting lists for a wide range of conditions. This sees people presenting at emergency departments when their condition starts to deteriorate.
“We need to see significant and sustained and meaningful investment in the HSC workforce and transformation.
“The Minister of Health needs to demonstrate that he is committed to a transformation model which is fully funded and co-designed in partnership with those who deliver and those who use services and provide an update on the review into Emergency Departments.”