Hospital Campaigners Address MLA's Over The Budget

“We also have further severe cuts in the pipeline in respect of Accident & Emergency, disability and in-patient psychiatric services. [caption id="attachment_21010" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Down Community Health Committee campaigners Dick Shannon MBE and Eamonn McGrady, chairman, are calling on  South Down MLA's to ensure frontline services are protected in a fair deal for health in the Budget decision at the Stormont NI Assembly this week. "][/caption] “We would urge any local MLA’s who intend to vote in support of the new budget to do so only if they receive absolute assurances that there will be no detrimental impact on local health services and they receive assurances that the imminent local cuts will not be implemented. “We are fortunate in this area that our cohort of MLA’s includes some of the most senior and, presumably, influential political figures in the North, with the SDLP Leader, Ulster Unionist Deputy Leader, Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee and Minister for Education all representing the South Down constituency. We expect them to use their influence to prevent cuts from being implemented. “The Department of Health is clearly fighting hard to protect budgets and services. Clearly, we would support efficiency savings provided local frontline services were protected but ‘efficiency savings’ must not be a euphemism for cuts in service provision. And there clearly are massive structural inefficiencies within the Health Service in Northern Ireland, compounded by the concentration of hospital services in Belfast. “Local healthcare will be a key issue in the 5th May elections. Our community needs to see its politicians placing the needs of their constituents in this regard in front of any narrow party political interest.”]]>