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Finance minister unveils £72m funding boost for health services

Northern Ireland has announced a £72m finance injection into the NHS.

Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said this was to help alleviate 'well-documented pressures' on the health service.

It comes as the Northern Ireland Executive had already announced a £7m increase in GP contractual funding for 2016/17.

But this comes as 85% of Northern Irish practices are struggling and at least three Northern Irish practices are in danger of closure because of GP shortages.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said: 'The pressures in our health service are well documented and an additional £72million funding will go a considerable way to help addressing these issues.

'It brings the total additional funding provided to health this year to £200 million and is evidence of the Executive’s commitment to protecting our health service.'

He added that the Executive had managed to avoid cuts to the budget despite Westminster's 'austerity agenda'.

The increase to the health budget is part of a wider £175 million of funding increases also boosting the budgets in education, infrastructure and skills.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Mr Mephisto

    How much of this figure is earmarked for General Practice? Probably just about zero given previous extra "down the back of the sofa" NHS spend in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Politicians and Civil Servants need to abandon their failed "give all the money to secondary care and give all the work to primary care model" (Transferring Your Care). All parties need to acknowledge that primary care in Northern Ireland is on the point of collapse. Doing what you have always done and expecting a different outcome is just plain stupid. There is obviously no long term planning or even pain ordinary "thinking" going on in the Department of Health in Northern Ireland just plain old knee jerk short-termist politics - long waiting lists = unhappy electorate = more money to deal with the waiting list "problem". If no-one in Stormont has the sense to actually undertake Professor Rafael Bengoa recommendations we are all sunk. What will happen when primary care does implode sometime in the near future? What is the model then? Everyone turn up to A&E?

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  • I totally agree with the above!
    When will anybody in DOH or Stormont realise that if you continually ignore the problems in primary care then this will inevitably cause massive problems in the future?
    What we have in NI is a devolved assembly obsessed with feeding scondary care every time to assauge media and public concern about secondary care crisis after crisis, to the public the NHS is large shiny hospitals and GP care is taken for granted that it will always provide as it has always done, it is neglected and assumed that the GP service is some magic system that needs no care or maintenance because it ALWAYS provides!
    Not any more it doesn't: We are on a cusp of GP meltdown here, GP vacancies and lack of ANY GP investment over the past 10 years have decimated NI primary care, we cannot survive this disaster without emergency help from government, it does not appear to be coming anytime soon, as GP collapses the pressure in secondary care will intensify and if the DOH think that hospitals are under pressure now then they just dont get what is waiting for them around the corner as the last GP surgery closes for good and switches off the lights.............

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  • Mr Mephisto

    It looks like the NI Assembly have taken a very bold move towards a "total secondary care" model of service once General Practice collapses in Northern Ireland. In financial terms this is the equivalent of giving George Best half a pint of shandy. Primary care would be rolling drunk with joy, enthusiasm, and belief in the future given this amount of investment. Secondary care will have it pi**ed up against a wall in no time flat.

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  • Mr Mephisto

    Unfortunately we seem to have a case of “meet the new boss – same as the old boss”. Our new Health Minister has decided to launch her new brief with the standard “something must be done about waiting lists”. She has obviously learnt nothing from her predecessors. Ploughing all of your resources into secondary care whilst starving primary care has failed to work up until now – why does she think it will work this time around? Waiting lists will be a relatively minor problem once general practice collapses and vast tracts of the country end up un-doctored. Within five years there will be no doctors in any of the rural border areas including in the current health ministers own constituency. Unless Professor Bengoa and his new commission are allowed to make the changes that must be made to unbalanced “secondary care above all” system we are doomed and the assembly will have failed in the primary role of government- providing health care for its people.

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  • Mr Mephisto

    It’s a little bit ironic (don’t you think) that a DUP health minister was happy to talk to an advisor from the Basque Country but the Senn Fein health minister has chosen to turn her back on him. Oh my how times have changed in NI. At one time relationships between Sinn Fein and the Basque region were very close – back in the bad old days.

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