Kearney calls for cross party and trade union opposition to NHSCT cuts
Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney attended the UNISON Northern Health Branch engagement with political parties in the Dunsilly Hotel today, and later the NHSCT savings plan consultation meeting in Mossley Mill.
Speaking afterwards Mr Kearney said;
"UNISON's meeting this morning for political parties set out in stark terms the implications of the cut backs tabled for discussion at the Northern Trust consultation later in the day.
"The reduction in health and social care services across the Northern Trust area totalling £13 million will be catastrophic. This decision is the consequence of unremitting net cuts by the Tories to the North's overall Block Grant, with resultant massive pressures on frontline health and social care provision.
"The attempt by NHSCT representatives to sugar coat the severity of these cutbacks during the consultation meeting was totally unconvincing. There is now clearly a threat to the future of Whiteabbey Hospital with the closure of rehabilitation services; for staffing levels at Antrim and Mid Ulster hospitals; and the very real prospect of lost and less bed provision in our local hospitals this winter.
"These proposals are indefensible. They represent a strategy to run down hospital services, community care and domiciliary care packages by stealth, and should be rejected.
"In that spirit, I urged UNISON's Northern Health Branch to co-ordinate a cross party delegation along with union representatives to seek urgent meetings with the Chief Executive and Chair of the NHSCT, and the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health to present a joint case for reversal of this plan immediately.
"Sinn Féin will continue to work with UNISON, other stakeholders and the wider community to oppose cuts, and secure reform of, and investment in local health and social care services"