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Health minister’s funding claim rejected by colleague

15 November 2007

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Northern Irish health minister Michael McGimpsey has been accused by a cabinet colleague of wrongly claiming that health service funding in the Province is falling further behind England.

Finance minister Peter Robinson (DUP, East Belfast) told an Assembly scrutiny committee that it was entirely right for the Ulster Unionist minister to raise concerns about the budget.

However, he dismissed claims that the level of funding is lagging behind that seen in England.

Addressing the Finance and Personnel Committee, the DUP deputy leader said: “A number of commentators have attempted to sell the line that somehow our health service is less satisfactorily funded than for instance in England.

“The facts are that the health service in Northern Ireland receives 10% more than the health service in England per head of population.

“The argument might then be advanced that there is a greater need in Northern Ireland.

“An independent review was carried out on the health service by Professor Appelby and he identified that there was a greater need but identified that as being in the region of 7%.

“So even taking into account the greater need as identified by the independent evaluator, we still have a higher level per capita than in England.”

But Mr McGimpsey insisted that Northern Ireland needs an extra £300m if it is to have equivalent funding to England and claimed that the shortfall could double in three years time if additional funds are not found.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Northern Ireland Health Service

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