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Doctors and nurses tell our politicians to put patients first and form an Executive

By Jonathan McCambridge

Organisations representing doctors and nurses from across Northern Ireland have issued a joint call for politicians at Stormont to “put patients first” and form an Executive immediately.

The Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association Northern Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and the Royal College of GPs, have said that political instability is putting basic service delivery at risk.

The DUP is refusing to return to the devolved power-sharing Executive until its issues with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.

Read more: DUP leader refuses to commit to election of Assembly speaker

Party leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has also refused to say if his party will support the election of a new Speaker on the first day of the new Assembly on Friday.

Without a Speaker the Assembly would not be able to function.

In a joint statement, the health organisations said: “Our health service is on the verge of collapse.

“We have the longest waiting lists in the UK, emergency departments are overflowing, general practice is in crisis, and we have chronic workforce shortages, alongside burnt-out staff who are contemplating leaving the health service forever.

“The situation could not be more serious.”

NHS sticker in a Shankill shop window (Shauna Corr/Belfast Live)

“Following the Assembly election on May 5, we are appealing to our newly elected representatives to put our health service first, form an Executive without delay and, as a first step towards fixing our health service, agree a multi-year budget to allow leaders to plan and deliver services effectively.”

The statement continued: “We know not having a Government stalls progress.

“The lack of political stability puts basic service delivery at risk and inhibits our ability to make progress on key transformation projects including addressing our waiting lists, tackle the crisis in emergency admissions and improving capacity in general practice.

“It also means we cannot fund our elective care, mental health and cancer strategies.

“We cannot underestimate the huge impact this uncertainty has on the lives of patients.

“While we do not seek to minimise the challenges our political leaders face, it is essential that they work through them and find solutions.

“We urge all political parties to get back to the table, set aside their differences and work together to address the immediate healthcare needs of all our patients.

“The price of political failure is too severe and will be felt in the worsening health of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Read more: Sir Jeffrey to stay in Westminster despite winning seat at Assembly

Read more: Johnson reiterates threat to EU over post-Brexit deal on NI

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Dive Deeper:
Doctors and nurses urge politicians to ‘put patients first’ and form Executive
Organisations representing medical professionals have called on Northern Ireland’s parties to get together at Stormont.
DUP condemned for paralysing Stormont as protocol row deepens
‘Stop pandering to the DUP’, prospective first minister Michelle O’Neill to tell Boris Johnson in planned visit on Monday
Stormont stalemate risks patients’ lives, medical leaders warn
Healthcare organisations say failure to form an executive on Friday could worsen Northern Ireland’s NHS crisis
Stormont Assembly to meet with DUP set to block election of new Speaker
Ninety MLAs will gather in the chamber after last week’s Northern Ireland Assembly election saw Sinn Fein emerge as the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
DUP will decide on Friday whether to nominate Stormont Speaker – Donaldson
Sinn Fein has called on the DUP to re-enter government this week.
DUP adopt 'wait-and-see' approach to UK action on Northern Ireland protocol
Mr Wilson said he will not welcome it "until we actually know what the Government intends to do, when it…
Get all your news in one place