24 September 2009 Edition

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'Efficiency savings' should not target hospital beds

Michelle O’Neill

Michelle O’Neill

As major cuts to hospital services were threatened this week, Sinn Féin MLA and Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee, Michelle O’Neill, has stated that there should be no reduction of beds at Belfast hospitals.
Speaking on Tuesday, Michelle O’Neill said:
“The Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has made commitments that efficiency savings should not and will not affect frontline services. However, this is the latest in a long list of attacks on such services.
“We have seen proposed cuts to nursing numbers, the ambulance service has been affected and now over 150 beds are under threat at Belfast main hospitals.
“On top of this staff that are affected are to be redeployed. We have seen the debacle of staff redeployment in the Omagh area and the costs and disruption to local health provision that that entailed.
“Sinn Féin recognises that there are financial pressures on all Departments including Health but the way forward is not to cut frontline services such as hospital beds, nursing jobs, and in the ambulance service.
“There are areas that Michael McGimpsey as Health Minister can make savings and these need to be explored with full rigour before any of these cuts are even considered.”

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