Mid Ulster District Council believes the savings plans proposed by 2 local health trusts will have a ‘significantly negative impact’ on the lives of local people.
In a formal response to the plans developed by both the Northern and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts, the Council also states that the length of time given for consultation responses, together with a lack of detail and data on how and where potential cuts will take place, has been challenging and hampered a fully informed response.
Chair of the Council, Councillor Kim Ashton, said:
“While the Trusts have identified some of their cost savings as ‘low impact’, we believe strongly that the proposed cuts will have a significantly negative impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our district, from the young to the elderly and from people with disabilities to those living in rural communities.
“While we appreciate that the Trusts are operating under financial pressures and being forced to respond to circumstances beyond their control, the impact on the ground is very real for our population and it also stretches beyond the immediate budgetary issues.
“What will the long term impact of these 2017/18 proposals be on next year’s front line staff, services and facilities, and the year after that, and the year after that?
“We have spent some considerable time consulting with local people, alongside our partners in health, to develop a meaningful Mid Ulster Community Plan. It is very clear that these cuts undermine that process and the plans we are developing to deliver the kinds of health outcomes that we all wish to see for our residents.
“The continued retraction of investment in health and social care is unacceptable”.
The Council also drew attention to the fact that there was potential for Mid Ulster residents to be disadvantaged as the two Health Trusts covering the district were operating in isolation and developing savings without reference to the other, and that the growth in Mid Ulster’s population - the fastest of all the new Council areas between 2001 and 2013, up by 18.7% against a regional average of 8.3% - was set to continue and had not been factored into proposals.