17 June 2018
Strangford DUP MLA Simon Hamilton has welcomed the announcement of a £20 billion spending boost for the National Health Service. Mr Hamilton said that this additional expenditure, which could be worth a further £500 million for Northern Ireland, will help the NHS to deal with pressures and transform for the future.
Commenting, Mr Hamilton said, “The announcement by the Prime Minister that the health budget will receive an extra £20 billion by 2023 is a much needed and hugely welcome boost for our National Health Service.
This money – which could be worth an additional £500 million for the NHS in Northern Ireland – will help us to not only get to grips with the pressures that our healthcare system faces in the present, but will also help us prepare for the challenges in the future. The DUP has proven its commitment to pursuing this dual approach. That’s why, in the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Conservative Party, we secured £100 million to deal with immediate health and education pressures. Those resources have helped the NHS in Northern Ireland to deliver the biggest investment in GP services for over 10 years and to put in place a long-term plan to secure accident and emergency services at Daisy Hill Hospital. And that is why the C&S Agreement also includes £200 million to assist us in the delivery of our vision for transformation of the health service. As Professor Rafael Bengoa reminded us last week, transforming the NHS alongside addressing immediate pressures is always a challenge, but this spending boost plus the resources from the Confidence and Supply Agreement gives us a great opportunity to deliver on the consensus around transformation that the political parties at Stormont have built.
With this extra spending power, Northern Ireland now has the opportunity to improve health outcomes for our people and create the NHS that they deserve. Achieving that aim will be best achieved by having a locally elected, locally accountable Health Minister working alongside Executive colleagues at Stormont. It is high time that Sinn Fein prioritised issues like health that affect all of our constituents over narrow, sectional interests. Let’s get power sharing up and running again and begin the work of building a better NHS. Should Sinn Fein continue to put language before public services, the DUP have shown an ability to continue to deliver on health even in the absence of an Executive.”