Patients in the Southern Trust area could be forced to wait up to two years for urgent eye surgery, it has been claimed.
And it has led to calls for “more investment” into eye care within the NHS.
DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said Belfast Trust conduct the Southern Trust’s eye surgery and she says constituents living in the Southern Trust have been informed that, due to a shortage of capacity in the Belfast Trust, patients will have to wait 103 weeks for urgent treatment.
The Upper Bann MLA has raised grave concerns about this state of affairs and wants to see more investment into having the waiting times dramatically reduced.
Ms Lockhart said: “With money for investment in the Health Service as part of the DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement, I am calling on this money to be channelled properly to ensure waiting times are brought down.
“We have a fantastic Health Service staffed by dedicated professionals who work under constant pressure. For they and for the patients we need this investment sooner rather than later.
“I fully understand that this incoming money needs to be channeled correctly, but it has been provided for specific purposes and one of those is the reduction of waiting times.
“It is not right that someone must wait two years for a so-called urgent appointment.
“If it is problem with the availability of a specialist consultant then provision should be made for accessing this service elsewhere.
“Our sight is of utmost importance to us all and it is vital that urgent appointments are treated as urgent. ”
The MLA said she had alerted the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary and the Secretary of State to the matter and called for action to be taken.
“I will also continue to lobby the Health Trusts on these important issues,” added Ms Lockhart.
“It is issues like these that need a government and a Minister to take decisions. We need an executive reformed or direct rule ministers to take decisions.”
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