Health admin streamline plans a ‘scandal’ - Durkan

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Plans to streamline healthcare admin in the north have been met with an angry reaction in Derry.

The plans could see four centres of expertise established that would oversee payroll, human resources, and finance services.

The centres would be located in Belfast, Ballymena, Omagh and Armagh - meaning hundreds of workers will be expected to travel to the new centres.

Staff who work at the Western Trust’s payroll department in Altnagelvin will be expected to relocate to Belfast.

It is understood staff who work in the Western Health Trust’s payroll department will be expected to travel to Belfast - which will become the new payroll centre.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said Derry should be one of the locations for a new centre.

He said plans to take jobs out of Derry were a “scandal”.

“While we accept that savings can be made by streamlining administration of the NHS, it is a scandal that the Department is seeing fit to take jobs out of Derry when it ranks as the 4th highest unemployment zone in the UK,” he says.

“Why could Altnagelvin not have been earmarked as an administration hub? No answer has been given on that.

“It has been said that those who do not wish to travel to other locations will be offered retraining and deployment elsewhere, but where are these alternative jobs coming from given the moratorium on NHS recruitment? Again, nothing so far from the Minister.

“If a Derry person were to end up being asked to travel to work in Armagh, for instance, it really is Hobson’s choice – nobody with any sort of family ties would be able to do it,” he says.

Mr Durkan says he will raise the matter in the Assembly later today (December 7).