Health Board accepts controversial plan for Southern Trust cost saving

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), at a special Board Meeting today (Tuesday, October 17), supported three controversial savings proposals from Trusts totalling around £3m.

This followed a six week consultation period by Health and Social Care Trusts.

The HSCB Board welcomed the additional £40m being made available to Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland, which has reduced the amount of savings needed, and helped alleviate the significant negative impacts of Trusts’ proposals on patients and service users going into the winter period.

This reduced the level of Trusts’ major /controversial savings proposals from £31 to £3m.

At its meeting today, the HSCB Board supported the following proposals which will now be considered by the Department of Health:

A proposal from Belfast Trust around the substitution of three very expensive drug treatments for clinically-suitable, safe, and effective alternative treatments that are less expensive (one of the drugs was recommended subject to the clarification of regulatory matters). This would save around £3m.

A proposal from the Northern Trust to increase car parking charges on acute hospital sites. This would save £75k.

A proposal from Southern Trust to change the arrangements for procuring community equipment. This would save £75k.

Speaking after the meeting, HSCB Chief Executive Valerie Watts said:

“Whilst we welcome the additional funding, which offers important short-term respite to patients and service users, the HSCB Board fully recognises the serious financial pressures still facing the HSC.

“There is widespread agreement that the only way to provide safe, high quality and sustainable care, within finite resources, is through transformation and working collectively to ensure the best possible outcomes for the people we serve.”