Cllr Tom Hartley challenged to justify health cuts

The Socialist Party has challenged Councillor Tom Hartley, who sits on the Belfast Health Trust’s Executive Board, to publicly justify the massive cuts the Trust is implementing. After receiving a ‘response’ from Mr. Hartley, West Belfast Socialist Representative Pat Lawlor wrote this letter, which was carried in the Irish News and Andersonstown News. 11/03/2010 Dear editor, In response to my challenge to justify the cuts being implemented by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Councillor Tom Hartley, who sits on the Trust’s Executive Board, has refused to make any answer. Instead, in a letter dated 8th March, he has told us to await a justification from the Trust Corporate Communications Department.

We have requested his explanation of the need for these cuts- cuts which are having a serious impact on frontline services, as any health worker or patient can tell you. He is supposed to sit on the Trust’s Executive Board to represent the interests of those who elected him, not the interests of the Trust management. He has a duty to explain to the people of Belfast why he has failed to speak out publicly against these cuts.

In our campaigning work, we have received shocking reports from health workers; surgical patients being housed beside patients with infectious diseases, cardiac patients being left out of their beds for hours because no clean sheets were available, nurses being unable to deliver medication on time because they are forced to carry out the duties of ancillary staff. These are all a direct result of cuts which have left the service grossly understaffed, and are on top of huge structural cuts, such as the closure of maternity beds and the slashing of rehabilitation services.

Why should the people of Belfast accept this when private companies are making millions in profits out of the health service through privatisation schemes? These are the questions Councillor Hartley must answer.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Lawlor
West Belfast Socialist Party

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