Call for political unity to combat new health cuts

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan
Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan

SDLP Foyle MLA, Mark H Durkan, has called for everyone to pull together to help stop proposals to slash £12.5m from the NHS budget for the west.

The Western Health & Social Care Trust last week unanimously decided to press ahead with public consultation on its proposals for the cuts, which it has been ordered to make by the Department of Health.

Numerous speakers, including Mr Durkan and other politicians, had urged the Trust Board to take a stand and refuse to go forward with consultation.

Mr Durkan said: “While we will support the Trust in resisting these cuts, we will not support them in implementing them,” he said.

“In a context where the health budget shrinks in real terms year on year, this cannot be sustainable or safe. There is no way that savings of this magnitude can be achieved without compromising on patient safety and delivery of care.

“All political parties have a responsibility to resolve the political impasse and restore the Assembly to work to alleviate these pressures.”

Speaking on the Draft Plan, Western Trust Chief Executive, Dr Anne Kilgallen said: “The safety of the patients and clients under our care is our utmost priority and we have borne this in mind in developing our proposals.

“The Trust has sought to protect emergency and unscheduled care, red flag and cancer patients, looked after children (child protection), frail people and people with a disability.”