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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Health Trusts warn of “avoidable and serious harm caused to people” in Northern Ireland

Entrance to Antrim Area Hospital


As health and social care leaders, we are deeply concerned at the financial outlook for the frontline services which our organisations deliver.

We have no wish to be involved in political controversy and are very mindful of the growing budgetary pressures on all parts of the public sector.

Our focus has to be on everyone in Northern Ireland who needs the health and social care services that our organisations provide.

It is our duty to warn of the very real potential for avoidable and serious harm being caused to people in our community who require our help, as a result of inadequate budgetary provision.

HSC Trusts have, of course, an onerous responsibility to make efficient use of all public resources.

Intensive efforts are ongoing to deliver a significant level of savings this year, as detailed in the financial assessment published on 28/05/2024 by the Department of Health.

As this document makes clear, even with these savings, a projected very significant shortfall remains that could only be filled by measures with high and catastrophic impacts.

Such cutbacks would inevitably include bed closures as well as reductions in outpatient care, operating lists, domiciliary care and nursing care packages. This would impact damagingly on the whole community in Northern Ireland, particularly the most vulnerable.

We are keenly aware of the need to reform services and invest in new technology. We know too that health drives our economy and contributes on numerous levels to well-being in society.  

The reality is that without significant additional funding this year and longer-term financial security, the Health Service will be further destabilised and the public will bear the brunt.

We have a collective responsibility as leaders to highlight these concerns, on behalf of our dedicated workforce and all those who rely on the vital services our organisations provide.

We will continue to work constructively with staff, elected representatives and other stakeholders to pursue the best outcomes for patients and service users.

Health and social care services have endured a prolonged period of instability and pressure. The escalating budgetary situation represents another destabilising factor.


Chair Jonathan Patton SEHSCT

Ciaran Mulgrew BHSCT

Tom Frawley  WHSCT

Eileen Mullan SHCHT

Anne O’Reilly NHSCT

Michelle Larmour NIAS


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