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Stormont ‘regrets’ £5m payment to farmers

Overpayments to farmers amounting to £5million will not happen again, a Stormont department has pledged By Michelle Weir December 14 2017 Overpayments to farmers amounting to £5million will not happen again, a Stormont department has pledged. The money was paid out in error to more than 11,000 farms between 2007 and 2013. The Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowance Scheme was used to support farmers with poorer land, such as hill farms. It paid a top-up based on the amount of land and a premium for keeping cattle on the land. According to the BBC, in one instance, the overpayment was more than £70,000. In half the cases, payments were as low as £50. Forty farmers are believed to have received as much as £10,000. The Department of Agriculture said it “regrets” the mistake but new procedures mean it “won’t happen again”. It is understood that officials could not recover the … Continue reading

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MLA slams ‘cruel’ three-year Belfast hospital waiting times

Figures revealing that patients have been waiting more than three years for hospital appointments have been condemned as “downright cruel” By Allan Preston December 8 2017 Figures revealing that patients have been waiting more than three years for hospital appointments have been condemned as “downright cruel”. The latest quarterly statistics from the Department of Health show over 73,000 people across Northern Ireland had been waiting for a first consultant-led appointment for longer than the target of 52 weeks. Now, figures obtained by the Ulster Unionist Party under Freedom of Information legislation, reveal that in October at least 40 patients in the Belfast Trust area were waiting over three years for appointments. UUP health spokesperson Roy Beggs called the numbers “frightening” and warned the increased waiting times put more pressure on other services. The statistical break down of waiting times was conducted across different departments in Belfast hospitals on October 19. … Continue reading

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Turmoil in Northern Ireland’s political vacuum: Schools to close early …

The number of missed targets rose sharply on this time last year By Allan Preston December 1 2017 Soaring waiting lists have put patients in the midst of “an unprecedented crisis”, an MLA has warned. The latest quarterly figures from the Department of Health showed targets were missed in an enormous number of cases. At least half of patients should wait no longer than nine weeks for a first outpatient appointment. Northern Ireland political turmoil: Industrial action not behind school’s early closure, says union   Northern Ireland political turmoil: Judge’s fury at dearth of resources for mentally ill  Northern Ireland political turmoil: Amnesty for security forces legally questionable, says DPP  More Northern Ireland schools set to shut early due to budget pressures  However, this target was missed in 75% (203,478) of cases in September. While no patient is supposed to wait more than a year, this was not so in … Continue reading

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NI Civil Service to ask Treasury for £20m from DUP-Tory deal – BBC …

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The DUP-Tory pact was signed in June The Northern Ireland Civil Service plans to ask the Treasury for £20m from the DUP’s confidence-and-supply deal with the Conservative Party for use within the next four months. The prime minister made a deal with the DUP after losing her majority in the general election in June. A memo from the Department of Finance obtained by the BBC outlined the plans. It stated that £15m of the money will be used to ease pressures in the health service. The other £5m will be given to education in this financial year. All you need to know on NI’s political crisis What would direct rule mean for NI? Sticking points in power-sharing talks Tory-DUP deal: What you need to know Earlier this month, Secretary of State James Brokenshire told MPs the government would make available £50m of the confidence deal … Continue reading

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Turmoil in Northern Ireland’s political vacuum: Schools to close early, health crisis deepens and prosecutor throws …

The number of missed targets rose sharply on this time last year By Allan Preston December 1 2017 Soaring waiting lists have put patients in the midst of “an unprecedented crisis”, an MLA has warned. The latest quarterly figures from the Department of Health showed targets were missed in an enormous number of cases. At least half of patients should wait no longer than nine weeks for a first outpatient appointment. Northern Ireland political turmoil: Industrial action not behind school’s early closure, says union   Northern Ireland political turmoil: Judge’s fury at dearth of resources for mentally ill  Northern Ireland political turmoil: Amnesty for security forces legally questionable, says DPP  More Northern Ireland schools set to shut early due to budget pressures  However, this target was missed in 75% (203,478) of cases in September. While no patient is supposed to wait more than a year, this was not so in … Continue reading

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