Belfast Health Trust challenged to reveal cuts

In a letter sent to the editor the Socialist Party have challenged the Belfast Health Trust to reveal the cuts to health services. Dear editor, The Belfast HSSC Trust has attempted to deny claims by the Socialist Party that the rehabilitation services provided at the Elliot Dynes Unit of the Royal Hospitals are not being cut. This is empty rhetoric.

There are currently 48 beds at Elliott Dynes, which is a purpose-built unit. After the cut, there will only be 14 beds for this service, based on general wards without the necessary facilities. There is no indication that any extra provision is being made for community-based services.  We challenge the Trust management to make public the details of any such plans. In reality, two-thirds of the service is being cut.

This is only part of a brutal swathe of cuts across the North in response to the Assembly Executive’s demands for ‘efficiency savings’. For example, 12 beds have been removed from cardiovascular surgery at the Royal Victoria, and an acute ward in the Hospital for Sick Children has been closed. The Regional ENT unit at the City Hospital is also under immediate threat.

Much worse is set to come when the Executive cuts £113 million from the health budget in the next financial year. It is not an exaggeration to say that lives are being put at risk, while the Health Trusts stuff millions into the pockets of big business through stealth privatisation schemes.

The Socialist Party has been campaigning on this issue on the ground and we challenge Councillor Tom Hartley, who sits on the Belfast Trust Board, to justify these cuts.

Yours faithfully,

Pat Lawlor.

West Belfast Socialist Party

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