Wells must get his budget priorities right – McCarthy

Alliance Health spokesperson, Kieran McCarthy MLA, has called on the Health Minister to get his budget priorities right, following recent announcements regarding the reduction in frontline health services. His comments were made in the Assembly on Monday during a debate on the Health budget.

Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “The Alliance Party believes that there has been poor management, maybe even mismanagement of the Health budget, as has been suggested by the Finance Minister. There has also been a very counterproductive undermining or retreat from the implementation of Transforming Your Care.

“We have a concern that Transforming Your Care, which was supposed to provide a better service for patients as well as making the system more efficient, is being slowed down due to financial pressures rather than being accelerated. We have the decision to suspend Minor Injuries Unit in Armagh, Bangor and Whiteabbey, which will only shift greater burdens onto already over-stretched Accident and Emergency services.

“I am disappointed that the SDLP and Sinn Fein, who brought this motion and amendment to the Assembly, are failing to take any realistic position in terms of how the Executive can balance its budget in the coming years.

“We need a greater focus on better public health, mental health and early intervention and prevention.

“Some tough decisions over the facilities and health estate across Northern Ireland will have to be taken. We could even consider whether there is surplus land within the health system that could form part of an asset sale strategy for the Executive, which could be re-invested in the health service. Alliance is also open to tough decisions around the re-introduction of prescription charges in some limited circumstances, which could be directed towards a cancer drugs fund.”


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