Health cut proposals: Where the axe will fall

.A protest by residents, family members and local politicians outside William Street Nursing Home back in 2013. 2805JM85
.A protest by residents, family members and local politicians outside William Street Nursing Home back in 2013. 2805JM85

The Western Trust has identified 12 areas where cuts to services would be made to make up the £12.5m savings it has been tasked to find by the Department of Health.

The Trust’s Board will now begin consulting on the wide-ranging proposals, with public consultations to be held in Derry and Limavady.

Instead of the usual 12 weeks to respond to the proposals, the publichas just six weeks, the Trust confirmed, due to time constraints as the Department of Health has directed that the cuts need to be made in the current financial year.

Trust Chief Executive, Anne Kilgallen, said that eight of the 12 areas had been identified as being likely to prove controversial.

These include “consolidating” William Street Residential Home and Rectory Field Residential Home in the Waterside on one site.

Other proposals include reducing domicillary care and nursing home care packages, resulting in 275 packages not being put in place at all, as high risk patients are prioritised.

In addition, reducing high cost non-NHS locums, nursing, agency and social work staff is proposed.

Western Trust staff , meanwhile, will have their current three-days maximum annual leave carry over allowance reduced to either two, one or no days.

The proposals also outline delaying recruitment for vacant posts across primary care and older people services. The measures impacting staff will save £1 m the Trust Board was told.

A further £2.49 m will be saved through reducing or delaying some service developments. While not affecting disability services, other planned new services and recruitment for them will be delayed.

Other cuts will impact neonatal services at the South Western Hospital in Enniskillen and Older Persons Assessment and Liaison Services in hospitals.

Members of the Trust Board welcomed another proposal to cap locum payment rates to save £700,000.

The Board was told this could only be done if all Trusts and the Department agreed to implement it across the North. This, they were told, would “reduce the premium paid to high cost locums in key specialities.”

There are also proposals to temporarily reduce elective activity and consolidate daycare elective surgery to save £1.78m. This would mean routine procedures and surgery would be cut by 50 per cent for day case patients, with further cuts for routine inpatient procedures in Altnagelvin and South West Hospitals, leading to bed 40 closures.