Roy Beggs MLA has reacted angrily to Sammy Wilson MP,MLA who, only a few days before the announcement of the closure of Whiteabbey Minor injury, was arguing that the Health Service could cope with further savings.
Roy Beggs MLA said “As someone who has personally relied on Whiteabbey Minor Injury unit on a number of occasions, I am aware of the high quality of service that is provided on a timely basis. Without Whiteabbey treating many local patients, waiting times at Antrim, the Mater and the Royal Emergency Departments can be expected to grow further. My constituents from Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey will all be adversely effected by this decision to end the Whiteabbey Minor Injury service solely because of budget pressures.
Sammy Wilson should hang his head in shame for his repeated underfunding of our NHS when he set the previous budget 2011 – 2015. Even this week on the Nolan show he has continued the myth that savings could be made without effecting services. The former Health Minister set out that whilst some savings could be made, his basic budget was not meeting demand.”
Last year the NHS struggled through with the help of £150m top up provided during in-year-monitoring. This year during the monitoring round, only £80m has been allocated to date. However in an unprecedented move the Northern Health and Social Care Trust have announced further cut backs to achieve savings. As well as the closure of Whiteabbey Minor Injuries Unit, the NHSCT is closing 27 intermediate care beds and a Multiple Sclerosis respite service. Clearly this is cuts in front line services..
The Ulster Unionist MLA went on to say “the previous Health Minister indicated that he would resign if he had to administer health cuts. Now we know why Mr Robinson recently replaced him”
Whiteabbey Minor injuries unit treated 100% of patients within the 4hr waiting target. Patients will now be forced to attend Antrim, the Mater and the Royal Emergency Departments where already one third of patients are not treated within the target time.
In conclusion Roy Beggs said “Over the past year waiting lists for elected surgery have been growing. A&E waiting times have often been unacceptable. The reduction of beds and services can only be expected to compound these difficulties as we approach the seasonal winter pressures on the Health Service.
I hope that next years budget will reflect the need of the Health Service”