Southern Trust to make £6.4m in cuts despite £40m cash injection for health

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

Almost £6.5m in cuts to services in the Southern Trust are to go ahead, despite a £40m cash injection into health across NI.

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

However despite this extra cash the Southern Trust is to go ahead with cuts outlined six weeks ago.

While the £40m appears to be saving services in other trust areas, the Southern Trust is to continue with its plans to chop £6.4m in services.

At a board meeting today, the Trust Board approved the £6.4m in cuts for this year.

Chief Executive (Interim) Francis Rice said: “In developing our savings proposals, the Trust’s priority has been to protect front line services and to reduce spending in support areas where possible, although recognising that all short term savings proposals impact on the work of the Trust.

“We welcomed the announcement of the additional £40m funding for health which has reduced the need to implement some controversial changes included in other Trusts’ savings plans which had an associated impact on our population.

“However, this allocation will have no impact on our requirement to deliver on our savings plan during 2017/18 and the Southern Trust Board has now approved all of the ‘low impact’ normal in-year financial management proposals, amounting to total savings of £6.4million will proceed as planned.”

“I can confirm that the only major proposal which will go forward to the Health and Social Care Board for consideration, is that relating to changing the current system of issuing single use aids and small appliances.”

Trust Board members approved:-

a change to the current model for procurement of community equipment considering the detailed responses to the public consultation and

to consult further in line with the Trust’s equality scheme prior to implementation of any change in this service.

Francis Rice added: “We would like to thank the many people, groups, staff and interested parties who engaged with us during the consultation period. We have listened carefully to what you told us and this has been reflected in the recommendations made to Trust Board today. Clearly we continue to face a very difficult financial environment, but remain fully committed to transforming and modernising our services, while living within the budget available to us.”