Cllr Denise Mullen: The Covid Cost To Our Healthcare Services
Aontú Deputy Leader & Cllr for Mid Ulster, Denise Mullen, has warned the disruption, delay and damage Covid-19 is doing to the Health Service and the long term cost in terms of mental health decline, cancer screenings and GP appointments.
Cllr Denise Mullen:
“Covid-19 has dominated our public health approach, concerns, and resources for nigh on the past year. This singular focus of our healthcare service is having a cost across the board, and creating crises in the Non-Covid areas of our healthcare service. In 2020, according to Breast Cancer Now, approximately 1 million people missed their NHS Breast Cancer Screening due to Covid-19. It is feared that nearly 9’000 of those women, could be living with undetected breast cancer with this only further aggravated by the delays in testing. Medical experts and academics anticipate that the month long delays and backlog in testing will lead to an increase in years to come in preventable cancer deaths.”
“In terms of Mental Health, Covid-19 is directly aggravating mental health issues and putting increased pressure and demand onto existing services and supports. Due to the lack of capacity in our Health Service, our hospitals are operating beyond their capacity with treatment being carried out in ambulances in hospital car parks. This is not diminishing the threat of Covid-19, rather what I am saying is that cancer and mental health were public health imperatives before Covid-19, and haven’t stopped being so. I am calling on the Northern Executive to wake up to this reality and start ramping up funding to clear the backlog and bolster services before it is too late.”