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Sammy's claims on Health are off the mark

I REFER to Sammy Wilson's letter (Write Back, March 8) where he continues to incorrectly state that the Executive has ring-fenced Health when this is clearly not the case.

Unlike elsewhere in the UK, social services have been totally neglected from future funding and the Fire and Rescue Service has not even been considered.

His claims that Health has benefited from a 0.2% real-terms increase is totally misleading when, in fact, the DHSSPS budget will suffer a 2% real-terms decrease over the four-year Budget period.

Crucially, just looking at my revenue budget, which meets the costs of GPs, NHS dentistry, prescription drugs and staffing our vital services, the budget suffers a real-terms reduction of 2% over the next four years when the NHS revenue budget actually increases by 0.7%.

If the Budget goes ahead, there will be thousands of job losses in the Northern Ireland health service - rationalisation of services, for example, less domiciliary care for older people and spiralling waiting-lists. Can the Executive live with these serious consequences for the health and well-being of everyone in Northern Ireland on their consciences?

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