"Aontú Oppose SDLP Call for Discrimination Against Health Care Workers" - Doyle
Cllr Emmet Doyle Aontú spokesperson on the Health Service has hit out at Colm Eastwood over his calls for mandatory vaccine passes for health care professionals in the six counties.
Speaking today, Cllr Doyle stated, said:
"It is alarming that at a time when hospitals are near or even breaching capacity, with huge waiting lists accumulating, the SDLP are seeking to prevent healthcare professionals from working. As it stands roughly 18% of the entire population of the north are now on a waiting list for a hospital appointment, hospitals are overcrowded and staff are exhausted. This has not happened by accident I have learned through FOI that since 2010 to before the pandemic 887 beds were closed by the Stormont parties across hospitals in the Health Service. Altnagelvin lost 31 beds alone, whilst Belfast City and Mater hospitals lost 145 and 76 respectively. The crisis in our health service is in large part due to the cuts inflicted by the SDLP, SF, Alliance, the DUP and the UUP”.
“Now instead of seeking to ramp up health care provision Colm Eastwood is telling workers that you can’t make a living unless you are vaccinated. Even if staff are free of the illness and have tested negative with regular antigen testing Colm Easrwood is looking for hundreds of health care workers to stay at home. Not only is this discriminatory but it would also do damage incredible damage to the health Service”.
Cllr Doyle continued: "Covid is a very serious illness and we should all be doing what we can to prevent its spread, but Covid cannot be blamed for everything. There are 300,000 people on waiting lists for hospital appointments, most of them are not Covid-19 patients. Staff are being run off their feet in hospitals. Instead of seeking to slash the number of staff and refuse employment to people based on their vaccination status, as the SDLP is suggesting, Aontú believes that we need greater investment, more staff, more beds and stronger north-south co-operation in order to tackle these waiting lists and save lives",