Bradshaw says Health Minister’s pledge not credible

Alliance South Belfast candidate Paula Bradshaw has described DUP Health Minister Simon Hamilton’s pledge to spend an additional £1 billion on the health service by 2021 as “simply not credible”.

Alliance Councillor Ms Bradshaw was speaking after the Minister made the announcement at the DUP’s party conference this past weekend. She said questions would be asked about the viability of the promise, given the context of welfare commitments, the reduction of corporation tax and looming spending cuts.

“This is a reckless commitment for Simon Hamilton and the DUP to be making, coming just days after the so-called ‘Fresh Start’ deal, with its financial commitments made to divert resources into additional welfare flexibilities and to fund a lower rate of corporation tax.

“In the coming days, we will learn about the scale of the cuts to the Block Grant over the next few years, and there are already many other pressures on our public services and economic drivers.

“Fixing our health service is not just about throwing more money at it but rather about pursuing an agenda of reform. The current model is not sustainable. Left to itself, with rising demand from demographic change, the health service is already facing an estimated five per cent rise increase in financial pressure every year. This in effect amounts to a £1 billion pressure over the next five years.

“But this type of investment is not going to be affordable. Where does the future of our economy really lie in the midst of such shameless populism? Given the Health Minister is supposed to be creating an advisory panel to assist with the reform process within the health service, where does this populism leave Transforming your Care and the Donaldson Report?”

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