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Sinn Féin urge further action on Hospital Waiting lists

2 December, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on health, Upper Bann MLA Cllr John O'Dowd, in welcoming an apparent reduction in some hospital waiting list figures, has also urged Direct Rule Minister, Angela Smith MP, to release additional funding to deal with winter pressures and increase the number of hospital beds available.

Cllr O'Dowd said, "This latest reduction for in-patient waiting lists is welcome news. However, this announcement unfortunately is negated by the fact that the number of outpatients awaiting treatment has correspondingly risen by 8%.

"I wrote to the Minister some weeks ago asking that she urgently release additional funding to prevent a build-up of winter pressures upon the health service as these additional burdens at this time of year have a detrimental impact across the entire services capability. To date, she has not indicated any willingness to do so.

"More importantly, there can be no doubt that these waiting lists could be reduced dramatically if the Minister was to release the resources needed to re-instate the 650 inpatient beds across all Programmes of Care which have been lost to the healthcare system in the North in that period since the Labour Party became responsible for the health service." ENDS

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