Public invited to health trust meeting to discuss major cutbacks

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

A crisis public meeting today to discuss £70m cuts in the health budget has been organised by the Southern Health Trust.

The general public and health workers are invited to the meeting in The Boardroom at Trust Headquarters on the Craigavon Area Hospital site beginning at Noon.

Trusts across the north have been told to slash their budgets by £70m within the next financial year.

Later this afternoon the Trusts are expected to spell out their proposals to cut the budget.

Agency workers, locums, and other temporary staff may be affected.

It is understood the Trust is looking at postponing or even cancelling non-urgent procedures, operations or other appointments.

A six-week public consultation starts today after which the trusts will draw up their final plans.

Patricia McKeown said the union wanted to remind all trusts “that they have both legal and moral obligations to the people of Northern Ireland and to the health service workforce”.

She added: “The people are suffering from rampant rationing of care. The workforce is suffering from pay capping and increasing casualisation.

“At the same time, private medicine is mushrooming as some make extraordinary profits from a growing crisis.”

The department has also asked the Health and Social Care Board to work with the trusts to try to mitigate the impact of some of the cuts.