Belfast Telegraph

Health service campaigners urge support for protest

By Donna Deeney

A protest against cuts that had been planned for the health service in the North West will go ahead today - even though the Western Trust no longer plans to carry them out.

A series of cuts to frontline health services across Northern Ireland were averted in the short-term after an additional £40m was diverted from other Stormont departments.

The Western Trust Board will consider the draft plan for the proposed cuts at an extraordinary meeting at the Foyle Arena today. But it said it will be recommended that the Trust will accept "no or low impact proposals in the savings plan".

"The proposals that will no longer be considered include; the temporary reduction in routine elective care, reduction in provision of domiciliary care packages, consolidation of residential and daycare services for older people and the remodelling of neo-natal services at South West Acute Hospital," a spokeswoman said.

Despite the reprieve to the proposed cuts, Shaun Harkin from the Stop the Cuts campaign said it was vital their protest wasn't called off. He said: "The fight is still on to save the health service. It must start with opposing all of the cuts the Department of Health is attempting to push through.

"Trust boards should refuse to send back any 'savings' plan and instead demand more funding. We will be going ahead with our planned protests on Friday and we urge everyone who wants to save the health service to join us."

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