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A&E crisis sparked an outbreak of common sense

Come the day cometh the man, goes the old cliché – and for once there appears to be an outbreak of common sense.

The issue we are referring to is that of our ‘beleagured’ health service after 200 operations were cancelled and A&E departments were swamped with the walking wounded and a few who had a sniffle.

In the past this would have prompted panicked ministerial statements, visits, appearances on radio stations.

Current health minister, Jim Wells, may have his critics, but he has made a remarkable statement of common sense.

Basically he has said that there was no need for politicians to stick their noses into clinicians’ jobs.

This is quite a remarkable insight. Politicians are there to set policies and standards, not treat heart attacks. Doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff do that, and they treat all who come through the doors.

And, with the situation now stabilising it could just be that Mr Wells was right to stay away from the media’s microphones.

He will, no doubt, now be exercised with the potential causes of such upturns in demand, such as an ageing population, the high cost of bureaucracy in Northern Ireland’s health service, bed blocking, and public confidence... At least we hope so!

In less controversial news this week the consultation on the abortion laws ends this coming Saturday, and in advance of this, Archbishop Eamon Martin, leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, made his way to a meeting with Justice Minister, David Ford. No doubt that was an interesting chat.

We also saw this week the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) taking out newspaper advertisements criticising the Stormont House Agreement; having been very vocal about telling the politicians to ‘Make it Work’ and reach an agreement. I guess you can’t  please everyone.

ICTU’s gripe seems to be that up to 20,000 jobs will be lost; the £700m from the British Government is a loan to get rid of those jobs; cutting corporation tax will help feed the ‘fat cats’; and a generally unhappiness about the whole thing.

Seems everyone is a critic these days – but in that spirit we hope that trade unions will refrain from sitting on any of the new Stormont House Agreement quangos.

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