Speaking following a public meeting at Mossley Mill in relation to the proposed cuts to the NHSCT budget totalling £13.2m, Roy Beggs MLA said “the proposal to close the 2 re-habitation wards at Whiteabbey Hospital would have huge damaging implications for Antrim Hospital itself as patients would continue to occupy acute beds at Antrim. This is being proposed alongside a reduction in nursing/residential packages and home care and would contribute to bed blocking. Fewer new patients would be able to be treated at Antrim and the already acceptably long waiting lists would get even longer.”
Specialist rehabilitation staff at Whiteabbey highlighted that there was not space at Antrim for their bulky, specialist equipment which aided recovery and so patients would have a slower recovery from their condition.
Roy Beggs MLA urged for cuts to health administration at the Health Department, the HSC Board and questioned the need for 5 Health Trusts administration. He also urged that the Secretary of State would take what every action was necessary to draw down the promised £50m/year for health and education and the £200m for investment in new services in advance of 2018/19 pressures.
In closing Roy Beggs MLA said, “the NHS needs long term planning and the proposed emergency cuts would cause huge damage possibly putting patients at risk. I would urge the independent members of the Health Trusts to resign rather than impose the proposed damaging short term health cuts”.