NI chief asks for an “society-wide conversation on budgetary priorities”, which means rationing..

Marie-Louise Conolly in N Ireland BBC reports 9th October 2019: NI health chief Richard Pengelly warns ‘something has to give’

He will be aware of the denial and the lack of the honest debate asked for by the chief of NHS England (Mr Stevens) in 2014.  The NI chief is asking for an “society-wide conversation on budgetary priorities”, which means rationing..

In the Belfast Telegraph October 17th he warns: Health service faces difficult decisions on budget 

The man in charge of Northern Ireland’s health service has said he cannot afford to pay for lifesaving treatments and pay rises for staff while also tackling hospital waiting lists.

Richard Pengelly, the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary, said the health service in Northern Ireland is facing a £20m black hole in its budget.

As a result, he said he is unable to adequately fund a range of crucial NHS services.

Speaking at a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy conference in Belfast, Mr Pengelly said: “I have stated that my department does not have the money to do everything we are being asked to do.

“It’s now in the public domain that our health and social care trusts are facing a projected £20m deficit this financial year.”

He restated the need for a debate to establish the public’s spending priorities in the face of budgetary pressures.

“While intensive work will continue to ensure their books are balanced, the reality is that the projected deficit represents only a small part of the escalating pressures and demands we are facing in the months and years ahead,” he said.

“Currently these are presented to me with frustration – the argument being that because I don’t do something, it means I don’t want to do it. That is certainly not the case.”

Mr Pengelly said that he had been left with difficult decisions to make and could not please everyone.

“Why wouldn’t I want to reduce waiting lists, increase pay for hard pressed staff and reduce the pressure on those staff by recruiting and training more colleagues?  Why wouldn’t I want to improve mental health provision and focus on suicide prevention, commission new drugs for patients with cancer and other serious conditions?,” he said.

“The truth is I simply can’t afford to do all these things – in fact, I can’t afford to do all the things we currently do.

“And with a fixed budget, I can only do more in some areas by doing less in others. And that is the key challenge.

“It is why we need a society-wide conversation on budgetary priorities and how best to use the limited resources we have.  In the next year alone, the competing demands and pressures could between them add hundreds of millions to an already very stretched health budget.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Denial for 5 years. On 4th June 2014 Mr Stevens asked for an honest debate…

Image result for denial cartoon

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About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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