Northern Ireland

NI health board budget cut and public health agency to lose £2.8m

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Northern Ireland's Health and Social Care Board budget is to be cut by 15%.

The Public Health Agency (PHA), that advises on health and well-being, is to lose about £2.8m.

The union Nipsa warned that jobs would be affected.

Alison Millar, deputy general secretary, said: "Nipsa has met with the PHA and has been advised that a cut of this magnitude will have a devastating impact on the agency with a projected loss of 45 to 50 jobs."

While the overall health budget is being protected, in order to make savings, cuts are being made to the budgets of the various arms-length bodies, including the health board and the PHA.

Health Regulators, the RQIA, the Business Services Organisation and the Medical and Dental Training Association will also have to work with less money. It is thought that cuts to those budgets could range from between 3 and 15%.

There are also cuts to the budget of Northern Ireland's Guardian Ad Litem Agency.

A spokesperson for the health board said it would ensure that any impact on staff would be minimised.

"It was outlined in the executive's 2015/16 budget that arms-length bodies within the department of health will have to make savings in the new financial year," she spokesperson said.

"The Health and Social Care Board is now considering a range of proposals to reduce its overall budget, and will ensure that any impact on staff will be minimised."

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