[Sinn Fein]

6th March 2003

De Brún waiting list measures begin to pay dividends

Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA John Kelly has welcomed the news that the measures to tackle the problem of waiting lists put in place by Bairbre de Brún have begun to pay dividends.

Mr Kelly said:

``Hospital waiting lists were for a long time seen as an intractable problem that reflected the decades of under investment in our health service.

``It is good news that there now appears to be a downward trend in the waiting list figures. It is evidence that the measures put in place to tackle the problem by Bairbre de Brún are beginning to pay dividend. The figures published today are based on the December returns, when there is normally a seasonal increase in waiting list numbers, so the reduction is particularly significant.

``The de Brún waiting list measures included a number of specific initiatives and resources targeted at reducing the problem. We need to ensure that the present incumbent continues to support and prioritise the de Brún measures.

``It is also important that the de Brún model for protected elective surgery units are developed and given the resources required to allow them to expand as rapidly as possible because this is the key to further improvement.''

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