‘No cuts anywhere are acceptable’ - warning ahead of emergency meeting

Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry (Picture by William Cherry/ PressEye.com)
Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry (Picture by William Cherry/ PressEye.com)

A warning has been issued that any attempt at further cuts to health services will be resisted ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the Western Trust this week.

The Trust’s Board of Directors will be meeting at its headquarters in Altnagelvin Hospital This Thursday afternoon at 12 noon to discuss its ‘savings plan’ for the current financial year.

The public board meeting - one of five taking place across the North this week- has also been called to discuss proposals on public consultation over the plans.

Warnings have been issued over the potential impact of Trusts across the North trying to make £70 million of savings between them.

Speaking ahead of the meetings, People Before Profit representative for Foyle, Shaun Harkin, said that “the loudest possible message” should be sent back to the Department of Health, Trust boards and the political establishment “letting them know no cuts anywhere are acceptable”.

Mr Harkin said: “Years of cuts have left our health care system in crisis.

“Waiting lists grow larger by the week. Lives are threatened as a result. Health care workers are overworked, demoralised and undervalued. GP services are on a cliff edge.

“No one has ‘briefed’ us about where cuts will be made. We unequivocally reject the notion there is no funding available and that cuts are necessary.”

Mr Harkin said Theresa May was able to find £1 billion to have the DUP prop up her government.

“When it’s a priority the funding exists. Our hospitals are a priority,” he said, adding: “These cuts are being cynically implemented to push through the privatisation of health services so a tiny few can profit.

“There’s no mandate in any working class communities here for austerity or privatisation.

“The parties who have run Stormont for decades have been told this at every election.

“We encourage people to attend the meetings in large numbers. Waiting around for politicians to sort this out has failed.

“We need to mobilise. We need to protest. We need to be prepared to take action to make it clear more cuts will not be accepted.”

The extraordinary meeting of the Board of Directors will be held on Thursday at 12 noon in the Denis Desmond Room, Trust Headquarters at the MDEC Building on the Altnagelvin Hospital Site.

The Western Trust has stated: “The items for discussion are the Western Health & Social Care Trust’s Savings Plan 2017/18 and public consultation proposals.

“Anyone wishing to address the Board in relation to this matter should email Madonna McGinley, Executive Assistant at madonna.mcginley@westerntrust.hscni.net with a short outline of their address on or before 12noon on Tuesday 22 August 2017.

“If you have any special requirements for access to the meeting then please let us know by telephoning Trust Headquarters, MDEC Building 028 71 611197.”