Additional NHS funding is only a cynical pre-election promise

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Health Minister Simon Hamilton promises to increase health sector pay after election after refusing to honour this year’s recommendation.

Clarity is needed on how much of additional £70m health spending will go to private sector providers and how much will be used to improve and increase output within the existing services.

March 7th: Kevin McAdam, Unite lead officer with responsibility for Health has greeted the Minister for health’s announcement of a further £30 million for waiting lists this year as a cynical pre-election promise.

“In November of last year, the Minister announced £40 million in additional funding for health but the HSC will struggle to meet the spend deadline of the end of this month (March). While the additional £30 million announced at the weekend has been committed ahead of the new financial year, it is unclear how this money will be spent and whether it will have any long-term benefit.

“Minister Simon Hamilton has continued the NI Executive’s hand-to-mouth approach to funding public health whereas we need long-term planning and strategic investment to permanently lower waiting times. It remains to be seen just how much of this additional funding will end up in the coffers of the private sector friends of the DUP.

“The DUP seems intent on flooding the media with “good news” stories in the run up to the Assembly elections. Recently, Minister Hamilton promised to honour next year’s pay recommendation for healthcare workers but was silent on his practice of denying them the same in the current financial year. He is happy to make promises on future pay increases when he has no way of knowing who will be the Minister in the aftermath of the election.

“Healthcare workers will know that this is nothing more than a cynical electioneering ploy from a party that has run down and outsourced the health service over the last five years through closing homes, wards and hospitals while saying that they sought to transform services. We hope the electorate see through this strategy”, Mr McAdam concluded.

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