SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone has warned that the absence of a functioning Executive will delay necessary reforms in health care.
The Mid Ulster MLA was speaking after the Independent Health and Care Providers warned that without the reforms “local quality of care will plummet and the system risks collapse”.
Mr McGlone said: “The warning from the Independent Health and Care Providers is a reminder of the need for the restoration of the Executive and political stability.
“Without political input the necessary reforms in the provision of health care will continue to be delayed and patients will suffer.
“I have repeatedly highlighted the growing waiting lists for home care packages in my constituency and across the north.
As the recent reports indicate, those waiting for care packages are now increasingly being moved to residential care home to free up beds in acute hospitals.
“This is contrary to the Transforming Your Care plan which has been in place for some time. That plan has been undermined by a consistent lack of funding leaving a gap between the need of patients and the resources available. It would appear that a decision has been made at some point to reverse the planned course of action and increase the use of residential care homes to alleviate the pressure on hospital beds. This is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
“Without a Minister of Health in position to hold to account we are likely to see more ‘sticking plaster’ approaches to such issues.”
Mr McGlone added that without a functioning Executive badly needed reforms would continue to be delayed.