Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Health budgets for most vulnerable must be ring fenced

10 February, 2009

Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Health Committee, Sue Ramsey has stated that the ring fencing and protection of healthcare budgets for the most vulnerable in our society should happen as a matter of urgency.

Speaking after today's Assembly motion from the Health Committee calling for this Ms Ramsey said:

"We need to recognise that it is children's services, mental health and disability services and services for older people that have suffered from historic under funding.

"It is crucial that frontline services and those that have been historically under funded are protected from the impact of efficiency savings.

"Protecting our children and young people, ensuring they are kept safe and that they have the support they need to grow into healthy, independent adults, is the primary purpose of our health and social care services.

"Less is spent on personal social services on children here than in England, Scotland or Wales. The expenditure per child in the North is £287, compared to £402 in England, £429 in Wales and £513 in Scotland. This represents a difference of between 29% and 44 %.

"The Health Committee have already began to hear from each of the Trusts on how they propose to make these efficiency savings and we will be continuing to monitor their proposals in detail to ensure that it is not simply a matter of passing such reductions 'by the back door

"While I recognise that it is vital that efficiencies are made it must not be at the cost of frontline services that provide such crucial support to those who need it most. We need to see the ring fencing of the budgets in relation to the most vulnerable groups being ring fenced as a matter of urgency."

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