Belfast Telegraph

Health row: SDLP to meet public spending watchdog

By Claire Williamson

Northern Ireland's public spending watchdog is to meet with the SDLP after it requested an urgent investigation into the DUP Minister Edwin Poots' claims of a £140m shortfall in funding for the health service.

The Audit Office said it is finalising reports on three areas concerning financial challenges facing the health and social care sector.

SDLP health spokesman Fearghal McKinney warned of the potential for "many tens of millions of pounds" to be wasted in the NHS" ahead of Mr Poots' face-to-face session on Wednesday with the Assembly's health committee.

The Health Minister has issued a dire warning over cuts, with potential reductions in the numbers of doctors and nurses, cuts to home care and organ transplants.

Mr McKinney wrote to NI Audit Office head Kieran Donnelly to complain that his party has not had a satisfactory explanation of the growing strains in the health service in recent years.

The request came as it emerged the Audit Office is to publish a report on private practices using publicly-funded health and social care (HSC) premises here.

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