DHSSPS Budget Meeting - Key Asks

Following a consultation meeting with Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety officials we have collated the key asks expressed at the meeting.

Key Asks/Points

No widely used/recognised definition of “front line services” for Health and Social Care so it is impossible to understand what falls within the ring-fence for front line services.

No clearly laid out criteria or rationale for where spending reductions are targeted programme for government targets in particular have not been born in mind in this instance.

When reducing what is termed as “discretionary spend” it is important that voluntary and community organisations are judged based on their merit and value and not seen as additional, in the majority of cases they save more for the Department in the long term. There is also an importance for the Department to prioritise early intervention/prevention spending and recognising the ability of this to save money in the long term, not just for health but across all Departments.

Cutting funding for resettlement of those with a mental health or learning disability runs contrary to the implementation of the Bamford Review, is a breach of human rights and section 75 each of these considerations should be reflected upon before final policy decision are taken.

There is no budget built into this draft budget to deal with an outbreak or emergency situation, such as previously encountered with swine flu.

Rolling back on commitment to implementing Transforming Your Care is a real issue. TYC was aimed at rebalancing health, bringing it back into communities, the opposite will happen meaning more people in hospitals etc. costing more for the health service over all.

When budgetary decision are as difficult as they clearly are currently for health this is where Section 75 can come into its own, screening all decisions against this ensures that there is no adverse impact against these groups of people. With this in mind it is particularly difficult to comment on proposals when no equality impact screening has been done prior to the consultation stage. It is also very difficult to see how an EQIA can be done adequately, with the appropriate consultation ahead of the budget being implemented on April 1st.

This is a good case for looking at children’s budgeting, as they are invisible in this and many other budget documents.

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