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Northern Ireland health service cuts: How each trust is proposing to make £70m in savings

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland health trusts have outlined how they intend to save £70m in the next seven months.

The five trusts detailed proposals to implement spending reductions in the current financial year. A six-week consultation has opened which will allow the public to have their say.

The Department of Health has told the trusts their priorities must meet quality of care and patient safety standards.

The main changes will be to locum and agency staff numbers affecting over 150 beds across Northern Ireland. Some non-emergency procedures will be cut meaning waiting times will increase. Some instances admissions will be affected meaning people spending longer in emergency departments which will have a knock on effect on care.

Home care will also be affected as too will be access to residential and nursing care. Also ended was fertility treatments for a year across Northern Ireland. Some car parking charges are set to increase in a bid to increase income.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The indicative resource allocation for the Department of Health is £5,095.4m, which provides an additional £224m for health, when compared against the allocated budget at the start of the 2016/17 financial year. This indicative allocation includes the additional one-off, allocation of £60m, in July from the Secretary of State. Despite this, the financial challenge for health remains significant due to inflation, an increasing and ageing population and the cost of new treatments.

“Trusts have been tasked by the department with developing draft savings plans to deliver a total of £70m of savings in 2017/18 which must be achieved as part of the financial plan for this year. The Health and Social Care Board will work with the trusts during the consultation period to develop actions to mitigate as far as possible the proposed temporary service changes to maintain quality of provision. Maintaining patient safety remains the prime priority.”

Breakdown of each trusts' proposals:

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