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Funding Public Services in Northern Ireland – What does this mean for Health and Social Care?

People are being asked for their feedback on a briefing paper issued by the Department of Finance on how Northern Ireland spends its money.

The Department of Finance says that a number of options are available for balancing the budget and they are intended to inform debate about the issues that will face an Executive Ministers ahead of the new financial year.

Image credit: Flickr

Important decisions need to be made about future public funding, including Health and Social Care and people need to be involved in these decisions.

The briefing paper sets out three scenarios.  These scenarios are not proposed budget settlements and no decisions have yet been taken. Their purpose is to show the kinds of choices that will need to be considered by Ministers in reaching agreement on a Budget, and to help inform debate on public spending.

  • Scenario one is similar to the approach of the previous Executive in 2016-17 (and then maintained in 2017-18). It provides no central fund for new actions and interventions in support of the Programme for Government (PfG).
  • Scenario two is similar to scenario one but assumes a level of new funding from additional income generation/reviews of existing policies which could be used to fund additional pressures. It provides a central fund for new actions and interventions in support of PfG of £40 million in 2018-19 and £50 million in 2019-20.
  • Scenario three relies more heavily on departmental reductions to allow available funding to be redirected to priorities such as health and schools. It provides a central fund for new actions and interventions in support of PfG of £30 million in 2018-19 and £40 million in 2019-20.

Within the scenarios, a number of revenue raising ideas have been put forward for various Government Departments, including Health. Some of the Health ideas include:

  • Increasing in patient charging for dental services
  • Increasing Health and Social Care Trust car parking charges
  • Prescription charges
  • Charging for domiciliary care and day care
  • Charging more for community meals

What do you think about revenue raising within Health and Social Care services?

You can have your say on these suggestions. Visit for more information on how to do this. Feedback should be given to the Department of Finance by 26th January 2018.


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Previous comments ...

Peter Martin 21-Jan-2018 at 17:41 hrs

Any increases should be in line with the increase I receive for my state pension, I would not mind paying say £5 for a prescription not per item, car parking charges should not be increased as the majority of people who drive to the hospital are not there for a day out but because of necessity and in a number of cases public transport is not an option.


Daniel Sharkey 21-Jan-2018 at 13:50 hrs

I worked from leaving school until I retired paying National Insurance and Tax .I was never unemployed.
We were told we were paying in advance for our care in old age .I have a small works pension so not entitled to means tested benefits . Now I am told I must pay again if I need domicallary or residential care and continue to pay until all my assets ,house and savings,are gone .


A Gamble 21-Jan-2018 at 05:08 hrs

Older people (over 60 years of age) should not be charged for their care. A great many older people, like me, have paid taxes and will continue to pay, for 60, 70 and 80 years. Why should we be charged twice?
Single women pensioners (single for whatever reason), in particular, find it difficult to live on very reduced incomes because they do not have a partner to share the expense of a household. If charging goes ahead you will have very healthy and well looked after older people on low incomes who have not paid taxes but will be given domiciliary care packages, equipment free of charge, and meals on wheels at £1.30 per meal.
Those who have paid taxes all their lives and may be just over the threshold (of I understand £20,000) will be ill and neglected, because they cannot afford to pay for domiciliary care, meals on wheels, transport etc. because they will be charged for their care.
Older people (over 60) should not have to pay for prescriptions. Transport should be free for older people (over 60 years of age providing they are not working).


Jo 20-Jan-2018 at 15:38 hrs

Hospital workers already pay to much for parking around £40 per week.Meals on wheels are to cheap but the cost to make them deliver them that money could be better spent


Ruth Parkes 20-Jan-2018 at 10:53 hrs

I have previously written to the Department about charging more for dental care. National Health Dental Patients pay 80% at the moment so no big change would occur there and I don't think it right to deny those who are exempt from paying , to have to start paying now.

Considering prescription charges is an administrative nightmare because of the high number of people who are already exempt. There would be no extra money there either because the charges would pay the cost of administration.

You might want to look at Carers Allowance - is it given to elderly people to pay people to come in and care for them? Does this happen ?


Bernie McCormick 19-Jan-2018 at 21:52 hrs

I feel that the majority of people would be happy to pay at least something towards prescription charges


Caroline Wheeler 19-Jan-2018 at 20:03 hrs

Hi what about cutting from the top? We only need 1trust with an internal financial department..not 5 trusts & a board!!!plus more wasting off money starting up a digital imaging board!!! Start from there not from ppl who need care!!!!


Allison 19-Jan-2018 at 19:55 hrs

I believe that the general public should pay a small amount of money to see a GP and def pay min £30 for missed appointments without notifying GP. There are a proportion of time wasters using GP time. I believe anyone seeing GP for documentation to make claims should pay a hefty fee.
Finally bring back prescription charges I believe this would deter public from getting armfuls of medicines that they neither need or do not use.


Charlie Lynn 19-Jan-2018 at 19:35 hrs

Hello everyone, I n my opinion people should not receive free prescriptions for items that are available over the counter. They should send a team of doctors and nurses to Cuba so they could learn how to run the NHS properly.13