Health Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed an increase in funding to his Department as part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s 2016/17 budget.
The Minister said: “I welcome the 2.7% increase in my Department’s resource expenditure at a time whenever other departments are still facing reductions. In so doing the Executive has recognised and reflected the importance the people of Northern Ireland attach to an appropriately funded Health and Social Care system.
“This additional investment underpins my desire to continue to tackle immediate challenges such as waiting lists and further address the need to transform how we deliver Health and Social Care. Despite securing the best possible budget settlement in the difficult situation facing the Executive, many challenges remain for health next year and beyond.
“This highlights the absolute necessity to drive forward with my ambitious plans to reform Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. I have secured additional investment in health and it is now incumbent upon other parties to support the realisation of radical reforms.
“I also welcome the boost in my ability to spend on capital projects. The additional £230 million will allow my Department to continue with important infrastructure schemes like the redevelopment of the Ulster Hospital and Altnagelvin Area Hospital, as well as the new build local hospital in Omagh. It is also extremely pleasing that the Executive has committed itself to the long term funding of the new regional children’s hospital at the Royal site.
“We all appreciate the pressures that Health is under and tough choices and difficult decisions will remain but this is a good deal for Health in exceptionally challenging budgetary times.”