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Reprioritising of health service spending needed

ON Thursday, October 30, the Minister for Health and the Executive imposed cuts on the health service and local communities which will have devastating consequences for the delivery of health and medical services for many people.

These include those communities in Down and Mourne served by the excellent facilities in Downe Hospital, Downpatrick.

Later that day DUP and Sinn Fein ministers voted for a budget for the 2015/2016 financial year which will bring about further swingeing cuts to health services.

We witnessed the sheer audacity of Sinn Fein and DUP members standing on picket lines protesting against the removal of services from our local hospitals - the very cuts which were approved by their colleagues. As a matter of priority, health service spending should be reprioritised to address the medical and health needs of our communities from Downpatrick to Newry and from Ballycastle to Bangor, rather than having a concentration of resources on administration and management.

MARGARET RITCHIE (SDLP)

MP for South Down

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