Five initiatives to aid our beleaguered health service
As we all know, the health service is in a disastrous state but there are some initiatives which could - and should - be implemented.
1: The chief medical officer is also the chief executive of the Belfast Trust. This is the largest trust in Northern Ireland and the one with the most pressing needs. This is a conflict of interests and must not continue.
2: All consultants who are currently working part-time for the health service and are doing extremely well-paid private work during the rest of the week should stop this practice until the waiting lists for which they are responsible come down. This particularly affects orthopaedic surgery, cardiac services and gastroenterology.
3: Nurses and doctors who are trained in Northern Ireland and whose tuition was heavily subsidised by the taxpayer should have to give five years work to the health service and then they can stay or go as they please.
4: The use of agency staff should stop as soon as is practicable and the money used to provide permanent positions.
5: All major hospitals should have a GP out-of-hours service, a minor injuries unit and a unit for people who are drunk - the latter funded by the drinks companies and staffed by doctors, nurses and security. This should ease the pressure on A&E units.
Our Health Minister has not shown any leadership, nor has he explained how he plans to tackle the problem.
All we get is him congratulating himself on achievements set in motion by his predecessors.
Saintfield, Co Down