Frontline health service cuts avoided after £40m diverted from other Stormont departments
A series of cuts to frontline health services in Northern Ireland have been averted in the short-term after an additional £40 million was diverted from other Stormont departments.
The region's five health trusts had been asked to find £70 million worth of savings to enable the Department of Health to balance its books for the 2017/18 financial year.
Of the £70 million plan proposed by the trusts, £31 million impacted on frontline services.
The Department of Health has now been advised by Stormont's Department of Finance that it will receive an additional £40 million of in-year funding.
The respite is only set to be temporary, however, as health services in the region still face the prospect of having to make huge savings in the coming financial years.
Initial assessments estimate savings of £430 million and £670 million will have to be made in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively to maintain existing service levels.