Speaking after statistics on waiting times were released Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Councillor Sandra Duffy said,
“Today’s stats show that the Health and Social Care (HSC) system is continuing to struggle in dealing with long waiting times and many people’s lives are being impacted daily.
“Additionally funded HSC transformation, designed and delivered in partnership with those who use and those who deliver services in the north of Ireland, is ultimately needed to address excessive waiting times.
“This means pressures such as workforce shortages, health inequality and demand on acute, primary and social care services must be tackled.
“This requires additional funding.
“As of December 2018 the HSC was recruiting for over 7,200 vacancies with many more posts not being actively recruited for at present.
“Today’s budget allocation does not address the pressures in health as it is less than the annual 6% inflation the health budget requires to stand still.
“The previous Minister of Health Michelle O’Neill was clear that for transformation to work funding needed to be additional.
“Sinn Féin will be meeting the Permanent Secretary for Health next week to raise our concerns with the financial pressure facing health and social care services in the context of today’s budget announcement.”