Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Public will get the best service we can deliver

I WRITE in response to John Harvey's letter (Write Back, November 10) asking about swine flu funding.

After having to wait from June until October for approval on a budget for swine flu, the Executive finally agreed a budget of £64.9m.

Half of this figure was funded by my department in spite of the financial challenges caused by increased demand for services.

Your correspondent appears to misunderstand the basics of how swine flu is being managed.

I have been very clear and am required, as you would expect, to account for every penny of the swine flu budget to the Executive and the Assembly.

Cancer scans have not been postponed.

We are, in fact, meeting our promises for rapid access to treatment.

In some cases patients will have to be transferred outside Northern Ireland for specialist ECMO treatment - as beds are only available there for this sort of treatment.

I will continue to do my utmost to protect frontline services, but will never stop my calls for extra funding needed to deliver quality services to the public.

MICHAEL McGIMPSEY MLA

Minister for Health, Social

Services and Public Safety

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