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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Grieving mother tells of daughter's 'inhuman' A&E visit during powersharing impasse rally

Written by David Young

A grieving mother made a heartfelt plea for Stormont's politicians to get back to work as she told a protest rally how her dying daughter was forced to spend 24 hours in an overwhelmed A&E ward.

Revealing how her terminally ill and partially paralysed daughter Angela had to spend a night on a chair in "inhuman" conditions, an emotional Wendy Crawley (pictured) said the £9 million-plus in salaries paid to MLAs during the powersharing impasse would have been better spent on hospital beds for the sick.

Angela Crawley Smith, a 39-year-old mother-of-one, died at the end of June from a brain tumour.

Her mother was one of a number people who stepped forward to explain how the powersharing void was impacting ordinary people at a #wedeservebetter rally in Bangor, Co Down, on Tuesday evening.

A crowd of more than 1,000 people fell completely silent as Mrs Crawley, her voice breaking, recounted her daughter's experience in a Northern Ireland casualty department shortly before she died.

"Her last visit to A&E was 24 hours," she said at the outset of her poignant address.

"There was no bed. There was seven hours waiting to get a blood sample analysed. There was another several hours to see a doctor. They couldn't get an MRI scan because it wasn't there or available.

"She sat all night on a chair with other people very ill. She was paralysed on her left hand side, she was in pain. It was unhuman.

"Do you all know how bad it is? Because if you take ill that is how our health service functions.

"And £9 million I believe in salaries might have got her at least a bed for the night."

Upon finishing her impromptu speech, Mrs Crawley was embraced by one of the event organisers as warm applause rang out around the marina area where the protest was staged.

The rally was one of more than a dozen held all over Northern Ireland as the public voiced anger at a political stalemate that has left the region without a properly functioning government for nearly 600 days.

At other stages of the Bangor event, the crowds chanted "We deserve better" and "MLAs why are you still getting paid?"

Among a number of colourful banners and placards, protesters also held aloft single sheets of paper, each marked with a number from one to 589, to signify the number of days Stormont has been in crisis.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) David Young / PA Wire.