South Belfast MLA candidate Clare Bailey has met with the Royal College of Nursing to offer her party’s support for the broader issues included in their manifesto, but has warned that there needs to be a dedicated commitment to tackling the social issues that contribute to poor health in Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing’s head office in South Belfast where she pledged her support, Ms Bailey stated:
“The Green Party recognises that Northern Ireland has a greater need for both health and social care than England and sufficient resources should be allocated to key areas, with no transfer of resources away from the public health system. We support the protection of nurses who speak out about patient safety and standards of care and seek to develop the nursing team to promote safer staffing levels and improve the level of care, especially for those with long term conditions. We will fight to protect health care investment and in turn protect Northern Ireland’s health.
“But we also believe that other key areas within the Assembly budget need to be addressed in order to tackle broader health care issues and strain on the NHS. It has been estimated that health service expenditure is 50% higher for households in fuel poverty, while issues such as childhood obesity, mental health and addiction can have their roots in the social. We believe that tackling the cause, not just the affect, is the only long term means of addressing our health care needs. Therefore, spending decisions recognising this relationship need to be balanced and socially responsible.”
Support has also been offered by East Antrim MLA candidate Danny Donnelly, a staff nurse himself at the Ulster Hospital, and other Green Party election hopefuls. Commenting on issues of health and social care Mr Donnelly said;
“Many aspects of Green politics require making plans now, to benefit the future, and Health Care is no different. Short termism is the pit fall of too many politicians, concerned only with making it through to the next election. What we understand is that preparations made today to tackle causes of ill health, will lead to a stronger NHS in the long term. We believe in finding the cure, not just the treatment.”