Belfast Telegraph

The questions we put to the Secretary of State

Given that the unions are calling for the Secretary of State to intervene and the chief medical officer has said the Secretary of State is the only person, under current circumstances, who can secure additional funding, is the Secretary of State willing to take action?

  • Why has the Secretary of State not responded to a letter sent to him six weeks ago from the joint unions about the industrial action?
  • MPs at Westminster voted to introduce legislation to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland. Does this contradict the Secretary of State's assertion that healthcare in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter?
  • Following on from this, why can the Secretary of State not intervene to try and find a solution to the industrial action being taken by health employees in Northern Ireland given the impact on patients?
  • The NIO has said the Secretary of State is "focused on getting Stormont back". What specific steps has he taken since taking up post to ensure this happens?
  • How many times has the Secretary of State met with Northern Ireland's political parties since taking up his post?
  • Can the Secretary of State say when he expects Stormont will return?
  • Is the Secretary of State willing to allow the industrial action by Unison, RCN and Unite to continue indefinitely in the absence of an Assembly? At what point is the Secretary of State willing to intervene?
  • Does the Secretary of State believe it is acceptable that patients are suffering because of the absence of an Assembly?
  • Does the Secretary of State view the current situation facing the health service as a crisis?
  • Does the Secretary of State believe the current waiting times for outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and inpatient appointments in Northern Ireland are acceptable?
  • A recent report by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee called for Westminster to intervene if the Assembly does not return by the end of the year. What action does the Secretary of State plan to take in response to this?
  • How does the Secretary of State respond to the claim by the former chief of the Health & Social Care Board that it is his "obligation" to initiate a process to address the issue of pay for healthcare staff in Northern Ireland?
  • Is the Secretary of State willing to work with the Department of Health, health trusts and unions in an attempt to find a resolution to the current deadlock? If so, when will he begin this process?
  • Does the Secretary of State agree with the Department of Health's assertion that in the absence of a health minister, the only other person who can secure additional funding for the health budget is the Secretary of State?
  • Is the Secretary of State willing to ask the Treasury to provide additional funding to address the issues that are putting patients at risk in Northern Ireland?

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