Sheehan hits out at flawed process
The Department of Health can’t possibly have considered the full implications of proposed £70 million cuts in just one week, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Pat Sheehan has said.
The West Belfast MLA was speaking after it emerged the Health Trusts are to hold emergency meetings on Friday to decide what cuts to recommend to the Department.
Pat Sheehan commented:
"The so-called consultation process into proposed cuts of £70m to health and social care services was fundamentally flawed.
“I raised these objections in writing to the Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Trusts because there is a strong view that this entire consultation was a cynical exercise. That has only been reinforced by reports that health is actually set to benefit from £40 million which is currently held centrally.
“To add insult to injury, the Trusts now plan to meet on October 13th, just a week after the consultation closed, to consider what cuts to recommend.
"A week is simply not enough time to seriously consider the feedback from the public."
"Public meetings across the north have illustrated not only the opposition to the proposed cuts but also the depth of anger at the way the process has been carried out.
"It seriously calls into question the integrity of the consultation process and whether it was ever intended to meaningfully engage with the public.
"I call on the Trusts to listen to the public, and to the HSC staff, who have clearly voiced their opposition to the cuts on the basis that it will seriously undermine its responsibility to deliver safe and effective services."