Durkan demands answers on Western Trust underspend
Mr Durkan said: ''This huge and apparently historic underspend is nothing short of a scandal. Over the years, as we have stood shoulder to shoulder with service users and their families in the fight for better services. There have been denials from the Trust, the Department and the Health and Social Care Board that there was anything irregular with how resources were being allocated here. This latest revelation, while shocking, will come as no huge surprise to those who have had to constantly battle for even a basic level of care. We await further information from the Trust which will clarify the extent of this negligence.
“Answers are important but we’re also demanding action be taken. Funding should be fully restored without delay and a full independent investigation carried out into what happened here. People are angry and understandably so. There appears to have been a conscious decision made, many years ago, not to fully fund this area. That situation has been repeated and worsened over the intervening period and estimates about the extent of the underinvestment are mind boggling.
“While the financial shortfall can be calculated, who can ever assess the opportunity cost here? How much easier and better might people’s lives have been had this money been spent in the right way? How much vital support might families and carers have received over the past twenty years?
“There are so many questions. People deserve answers and we are demanding them.''