The pandemic has exposed the damage to our health service caused by systemic funding cuts and the Executive's failure to properly reform our health service. As we face growing health inequalities, staff shortages and a mental health crisis, our health service is held together by underpaid workers who are stretched to the limit and starved of resources.
As health service reform strategies gather dust following years of inaction from the Executive, hundreds of thousands languish on waiting lists, people struggle to access dental care, and ordinary people suffer the effects of a chronic shortage of GPs.
It’s time to end the crisis facing our healthcare system.
The Green Party NI will:
- Work with the healthcare sector at all levels to identify priority reforms and resources.
- Oppose cuts to frontline health services, increase investment in mental health services, and resist any further outsourcing of services.
- Oppose any attempts to privatise healthcare services.
- Ensure that all health service staff have fair pay and working conditions with meaningful consultation on all changes to contracts.
- Support better integrated and more accessible healthcare - from GP to hospital.
- Retain free prescriptions for all.
- Treat drug addiction as a health issue and advocate for the decriminalisation of drugs. We will support the introduction of drug testing facilities and safe injection rooms.
- Ensure free, safe, legal and local access to reproductive healthcare, including the full commissioning of abortion services, accessible without harassment.
- Seek an independent review of the provision of support for older people at home. Ensure that such a review examines the rights of carers, both paid and unpaid.
- Introduce the urgently needed Clean Air Strategy and mandate the use of air quality monitors outside hospitals. Air quality standards must be raised to be in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.
- Deliver health education in schools and support increased physical education and time outdoors from an early age.
- Promote health through the provision of safe walking and cycling routes, public parks and green spaces that are accessible to all. Leisure centres should be brought back into local authority ownership to ensure continued affordability.
- Seek an independent public inquiry to examine the NI Executive’s pandemic response and to prepare for the future.
- Support dignity in dying.