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Direct Rule Health Minister accused of spin

4 December, 2003

Responding to the announcement of the rise in hospital waiting list figures, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Sue Ramsay criticized Health Minister Angela Smith for the spin she is attempting to put on the figures.

Cllr Ramsey said:

'It is very good news that in-patient waiting figures are falling. This is a reflection of the work put in to improving health services over the last five years. However, in her statement, the Minister fails to inform us that, overall, waiting lists have started to rise again.

'The Minister's refusal to look at anything but the good news smacks of complacency. That is a dangerous attitude to take - a lot of work still needs to be put in to ensuring that our hospital services can look after people promptly. To ensure that they do so requires more investment in front line services, and requires root and branch reform of the structures.

'Rather than avoiding the problem, we need a full-time minister that is prepared to roll her sleeves up and get on with the very difficult task of developing a health service that we can all be proud of." ENDS

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