HEALTH Minister Edwinn Poots is being urged to follow Belfast Trust chief Colm Donaghy and quit.
UNISON chiefs say the Minister has presided over the disaster in Northern Ireland’s health service and resign.
The DUP Lisburn MLA was due to be changed in a cabinet reshuffle by the party with south Down colleague Jim Wells.
However, the party has rowed in behind Minister Poots to fend off his opposition attackers.
On Tuesday, Belfast Trust chief executive Colm Donaghy suddenly announced he was resigning after four years in the post to moving to taken charge of a trust in Sussex.
His trust has been under a massive searchlight with its emergency department at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) coming under extensive pressure.
The Health Minister told the Assembly that he knew of Donaghy’s resignation a week ago.
Today, Mr Donaghy said in a statement: “This was not a decision I took lightly”.
“Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is a world-class organisation and there is never a good time to go,” he said.
“I have enjoyed my time in Belfast immensely and have had the honour to work with some of the most talented and committed people currently working in the health sector.”
Since the start of the new year there has been growing pressure on the emergency department at the RVH in Belfast.
A major incident was called at the emergency department in January when too many people were waiting on trolleys.
The breached waiting time targets that culminated in that major incident triggered the question of who was being held accountable.
A few weeks later escalation plans were triggered at the RVH under similar circumstances.
In a statement, Mr Donaghy said: “Health and Social Care is undergoing tremendous transformational change and Belfast Trust is at the heart of that.
“The opportunity for Belfast Trust in the future to deliver even better and more innovative services to the people of Belfast and to the regional population is unbounded.
“However, moving to Sussex is an exciting chapter and one that will, no doubt, present me with new challenges – all of which I am looking forward to.”
The chairman of Belfast Trust Peter McNaney said Mr Donaghy had been a “tremendous asset” to the trust and had “worked diligently” to ensure patients and clients had received the best possible care.
“Colm’s steadfast belief in the ability of our staff and his strong leadership has carried the organisation to its great achievements and through its challenges. We are all deeply indebted to him,” he said.