Responding to today’s announcement from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that £7.3 billion will be allocated to health, Dr Tom Black BMA NI Council chair, said, “While it is to be welcomed that we finally have a budget for Northern Ireland it is lamentable that it is not being locally set, that it is presented weeks into the new financial year and that it once again is only for one year, making any long term planning for health impossible.
“We have repeatedly said that we need a multi-year budget to underpin any attempt to transform or more realistically save our health service. A piecemeal approach serves no-one and given the lack of any significant uplift in funding announced today there is no doubt that there will be a major impact felt by patients on the services they receive and the staff trying to hold the system together.
“We have a workload crisis, a workforce crisis and now a funding crisis where we will see a deterioration in services for patients in hospital care and general practice. It will become more difficult to make an appointment for your GP, more difficult to access ambulance services, longer waits for ED and longer waits for outpatients and inpatients. Patients on waiting lists who need operations will have to wait longer and it will be more difficult to achieve waiting time targets for cancer services.
“The impact will be right across the NHS in Northern Ireland; patients will feel they have no alternative but to access services by paying privately. This is not acceptable in a developed country. We need a properly funded and run health system. We have had so many opportunities to address the problems and structures in our health service and create a system than meets the needs of patients and doctors, but nothing has changed.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.