Belfast Health Trust report: under-resourced home care to replace rehabilitation unit

The Belfast Health Trust has claimed that the slashing of two-thirds of rehabilitation beds housed in the Elliot Dynes unit will be absorbed by community-based services. However, the Socialist Party has come into possession of a study entitled ‘Review of Patients in Elliot Dynes Rehabilitation Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital- December 2009’. This review highlights the fact that a number of people became inpatients at the unit unnecessarily because these same community services, which would have been more appropriate, simply did not have the resources for them! Thus, without a huge increase in funding for these services, which the Trust management has failed to demonstrate any evidence of, the loss of beds at Elliot Dynes will be a drastic cut which will effect some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We held a picket of the Trust’s Executive Board on 25th March at Knockbracken Health Care Park. The venue was changed at the last minute, obviously to undermine our protest. I delivered a petition against health cuts and privatisation to William McKee, the trust’s Chief Executive. He tried to deny responsibility for the cuts. He is correct that the Trust’s budget is determined the Assembly Executive. All the main parties are complicit in the cuts. However, he has simply managed and rubber-stamped these cuts, displaying more concern for his £125,000 salary than the health service.

Councillor Tom Hartley, who is meant to represent the public’s interests, was present but did not come out to greet our delegation. He still refuses to explain why he has failed to speak out against these cuts, why people should accept them. Is this because of the £15,453 he received from the Trust from April 2007 to April 2009, and the £5-10k he will have received since then?

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