TWO days before an “extraordinary” meeting was to be held by the Western Health and Social Care Trust to discuss £12.5 million worth of savings, an additional £40 million has become available.

The Department of Finance announced this afternoon that it has written to the Department of Health authorising it to plan on the basis of the money being available in this financial year.

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said it welcomed the additional money for health and social care in 2017/18.
“This means we will be able to remove the high impact savings proposals in our savings plan.

"The draft plan will be put to our extraordinary Trust Board meeting for approval this Friday, October 13, 2017 along with the feedback from our consultation process.”

It will now be recommended that the Trust accept no or low impact proposals in the savings plan.
“The proposals that will no longer be considered include; the temporary reduction in routine elective care, reduction in provision of domiciliary care packages, consolidation of residential and daycare services for older people and the remodelling of neo natal services at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen.

Impartial Reporter:

Over 600 people attended last week's meeting at the Lakeland Forum to discuss the proposals. 

“The Trust would like to extend its thanks to all of the individuals and groups who took part in the consultation process and made their views known,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of Health also said the development is “hugely welcomed”, adding that the Health and Social Care system has faced “significant budgetary pressures this year which resulted in Trusts having to consult on savings plans of £70million in order to meet the statutory obligation for the health and social care system to break even.”

The additional £40 million will help towards reducing the amount of savings needed.

The spokesperson added: “The financial issues faced this year will only grow in intensity as we move forward. The initial assessment of the financial position for 2018-19 and 2019-20 is that pressures of over some £430million and £670million respectively will need to be addressed just to maintain existing services.

"Demand for health services is growing steadily, as people live longer lives, chronic conditions increase, and new drugs and technologies are developed.

"The HSC continues to face serious financial pressures and the £40million offers important short-term respite. However, the best long-term way to counter these pressures is transformation."