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Health budget is ring-fenced, says minister

I WAS concerned to read your editorial comment (March 2) which wrongly stated that the Northern Ireland health budget was not ring-fenced.

The draft Budget allocations made to DHSSPS reflect the Executive's shared understanding of the priority given to health relative to other public services in Northern Ireland.

The health-related element of the DHSSPS budget has been protected by the Executive, which allocated to it a real-terms increase of 0.2% per annum over the Budget period.

In addition, the draft Budget provides for an increased resource budget for DHSSPS in each of the four Budget years.

The level of protection for health here is broadly similar to that provided in England and provides DHSSPS with an allocation that is more generous than that proposed for other departments locally and much better than that provided in some other parts of the UK.

I am disappointed that you chose to comment without first checking your facts on the issue.

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