Patsy McGlone MLA for Mid Ulster

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Assembly Questions

Patsy McGlone 28th August 2017

McGlone: Rural Communities Hit Hardest by Health Cuts

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has warned that rural communities, particularly those west of the Bann, will be hardest hit under the proposed cuts to health services. The Mid Ulster MLA was speaking after attending a public meeting where the Northern Trust outlined its share of the proposed £70million cuts.

Mr McGlone said, “It is clear from the cuts under discussion by the Northern Health Trust that, once again, it is rural communities, particularly those west of the Bann, that will be hardest hit by these proposals.

“Among the cuts being discussed by the Trust are the loss of around 30 staff at the Mid Ulster Hospital site in Magherafelt to be transferred elsewhere with the proposed "temporary" closure of non-urgent surgery services at Magherafelt and Whiteabbey.

“Rural health services are already under severe pressure and waiting lists continue to grow across the north. I am deeply concerned that these cuts are to target domiciliary care delivery too. Aside from the fact that at present it can be very difficult to get adequate care packages in place, any further delays in delivery of care packages can only put further strains on the Health Service and families, including delays in discharge from hospital leading to inevitable "bed blocking.

“In the continued absence of a working Executive, the promised mega millions investment in the health service that the DUP claimed as a result of their support for a Tory government remains wishful thinking.

“Rather than that promised investment the health service here now faces more cuts.

“The SDLP opposes these proposals.

“We want to see a properly funded health service delivering for all our constituents.

“That requires the restoration of the Executive and a locally accountable Health Minister working to improve the situation.”