Poll: Is it time to pay for some NHS services? Doctor's anger over five year long waiting lists
A doctor has said paying for health care needs to be debated in a bid to try and resolve the continuing and worsening crisis in the National Health Service.
Dr Brendan O'Hare made the call on the BBC Stephen Nolan radio show on Tuesday morning.
He said key aspects of the Northern Ireland health service were "broken" and a "mature debate" was needed on paying for services.
"If you have something life threatening, yes the health service will respond and resources are being targeted," he said. "But if you have something else wrong with you that is not life threatening, I am afraid your health service will let you down."
He expressed his anger at having to refer patients for operations which may not take place for five years, given waiting lists.
"And if you are in your 70s you will not get the operation, as that us your lifespan and you will live out your life in pain.
We are moving the deck chairs on the Titanic why she is sinking. Dr Brendan O'Hare
"I don't blame the trusts, they are delivering on capacity. I don't want to go into blame. There's no political leadership to address these issues.
"The dogs on the street know what's needed. It is time for a mature debate."
He said people had been robbed of their independence and their dignity and a discussion was needed on paying for services.
"Our service is broken," he added.
"There is no point jumping up and down saying save our NHS, our NHS is not working. That's the reality of the crisis we are in.
"I am no fan of making people pay.... if we want a service we are going to have to charge."