Health Minister fails to protect local Downe Hospital - Hazzard
Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has condemned Jim Wells’ approach to managing the Health budget as the South Down area faces further cuts at the Downe Hospital and in the community.
Speaking after South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) announced cuts, including the closure of 9 beds at the Downe, Mr Hazzard said:
“Yet again we are witnessing the slicing of services from the Downe to the benefit of the Ulster Hospital in Belfast. Yet again the people of South Down are being told to stomach bed closures whilst the Ulster Hospital escapes unscathed.
“We’ve also learnt that domiciliary care is to be cut by a third. This is a serious blow to care services in our community.
"Everyone acknowledged that Health Department must look to make savings in the months ahead, but they need to do more to protect beds, nursing and elective care.
“In his last act as Minister, Edwin Poots admitted to the Health Committee that there was considerable waste in the Health system - yet his successor seems to have decided not to target this waste.
“We know that more than £60million is being gifted to the private sector for elective care waiting lists - surely this is an area where savings could be made, surely the SEHSCT could make better use of these funds in-house?
“We know that a scandalous amount of money - more than £30million - has been paid out in bonuses to senior staff within the Health system in recent years. Surely this is an area where the Minister could explore the potential for savings?
“Instead we have a local South Down Minister who is not prepared to stand-up for local frontline services.”