McGimpsey shocked at DUP intent to tax the sick

The Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey MLA, has said he is astonished that Sammy Wilson will not rule out charging for services within the Health Service.

Speaking following comments from Mr Wilson on the BBC Politics Show today (Sunday 6th March), Mr McGimpsey said:

“I am shocked and astonished that Sammy Wilson admitted he has not ruled out charging for services in the Health Service.  The DUP seem intent upon taxing the sick and vulnerable and Sammy Wilson takes delight in presenting himself as the ‘Scrooge’ within the Executive.”

“If Sammy Wilson’s comments are to be followed, this could mean a charge for seeing a GP, charging for attending a hospital appointment or even paying to attend Accident and Emergency.  Such a scenario would be totally unacceptable.”

“Yet again we have ample evidence that the DUP do not believe in a health service, free at the point of delivery.  They would rather see privatisation, upwards of 4,000 people losing their jobs and massive cuts across the Health service. This is all as a result of the DUP and SF fattening up their own departments.”

“How can the DUP and Sinn Fein choose to spend money on roads but not on domiciliary care?  How can they protect prisoners and not patients?”

Commenting on claims that the Health Service hasn’t delivered efficiencies, Mr McGimpsey said:

“The DUP conveniently forget that the Health Service in Northern Ireland has already delivered over £700m in efficiencies in the last four years.  In addition, the DUP and Sinn Fein have cut the Health Budget on three occasions in the last two years, which has resulted in huge pressures across a service that is already overstretched.  One only needs to look at the waiting lists in any hospital to see the consequences of DUP/SF cuts.”

“Over the last four years considerable changes have taken place, which have delivered real improvements for the Health Service.  However the DUP/SF budget for the next four years ensures that current services cannot be maintained and that there will be a real struggle to employ the same numbers of staff who deliver these services.”

“If Sammy Wilson’s proposed budget is accepted by the Assembly the Health Service will not be able to balance its books over the next four years.”

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