New health board must meet people’s expectations.
Sinn Féin MLA and deputy chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill has welcomed the establishment of a single health board but said that savings that are made from the amalgamation of the four existing health boards must be redirected into improving the health service.
Speaking today Ms O’Neill said:
“The establishment of a new single Health Board, replacing the four health boards that previously existed, is to be welcomed. Across the north of Ireland there are waiting lists that are too long, inefficiencies and duplication of services given that four boards that were doing the same job.
“The amalgamation will unfortunately see job losses, however the savings that are made, approximately £53 million a year, must be redirected into other aspects of improving and enhancing the health service and indeed supporting key frontline staff and services such as the retention of 700 nursing staff that are currently under threat.
“Ultimately this amalgamation, alongside the other new health restructuring moves brought forward, need to be a streamlining of services and provision and not a downgrading exercise. The weeks and months ahead will be the test for the new Health Board in proving that it can meet peoples expectations in the delivery and overseeing of a first class health service.”