Cash being spent to tackle the swine flu pandemic in Northern Ireland is coming off other health priorities, the Health Minister has warned.
Michael McGimpsey said that for every pound being spent on swine flu, another pound is being withdrawn from other important priorities.
“In effect this means a cut to the health budget,” he told his party’s annual conference in Belfast at the weekend.
Mr McGimpsey and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson have bitterly clashed over provision for the fight against swine flu in recent months and Mr Wilson’s department has insisted other government departments are stumping up more than half the total bill.
The Ulster Unionist Health Minister said despite reports his department had not been exempt but had contributed £32m — half of the total bill — as well as another £10m from the capital budget to protect existing services.
“As a result, for every pound being spent to fight swine flu another pound is being withdrawn from other important priorities in the Health Service... It is a situation which greatly concerns me,” he said.