Shouldering the responsibility for a nation’s health: Northern Ireland’s CMO, Michael McBride, faces up to the challenges aheadBMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3514 (Published 01 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3514
- Laurence White
- 1A1 Belfast
Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, accepts that the coming years are going to be “extremely tough” as public spending cuts begin to bite. But he has one advantage over his colleagues in other parts of the UK—he has already had some experience of the effects of diminishing financial resources.
The Northern Ireland health budget of around £4bn (€4.9bn; $6bn) a year—that includes health services, social services, and ambulance and fire brigade funding—lost £113m in the last year as part of “efficiency savings” throughout the 11 government departments in the province.
The effect of that on service development was keenly felt. One example was a reduction in planned stroke services. Some £10m had been earmarked for developments such as the rollout of clot busting drugs, rehabilitation services, speech and language therapists, and respite services. Instead only around half that figure will be invested. “That will have a real …