North's health service in 'serious trouble'

 

The North's health service is in serious trouble, according to Ms Iris Robinson.

She was proposing a motion calling on the British government to equalise health spending levels in Northern Ireland with those in Britain, and warned of growing waiting lists and bed shortages. She cited the example of a constituent who died while waiting for treatment, claiming his case symbolised what is wrong with the health service.

The Strangford MP and party spokeswoman on health, said people in Northern Ireland were being treated as second-class citizens and that levels of health spending in Britain in general, and England in particular, were higher.

"When one considers that Northern Ireland has higher levels of need and demand than our English counterparts, we would have expected that funding would be at least matched with the rest of the UK. But not so. Not only do we get less, but also future increases, compared to England, show that we receive demonstrably lower funding allocations."

She claimed that had funding levels matched those in England, the North's health budget would have been £83 million higher this year.

She criticised the North's health minister, Ms Bairbre de Br·n, for failing the electorate and pursuing "her party's own political goals and republican objectives".

The motion, seconded by Newry and Armagh Assembly member, Mr Paul Berry, was carried unanimously.

In earlier debates, delegates also endorsed without dissent motions on enterprise, trade and investment; disability; finance and personnel; and social development.