- Oct 16, 2012
Northern Ireland health system is ‘far from the gold standard’, meeting told
The Esri hath spoken from on high...
Dr Seamus McGuinness confirmed that the British subvention to Northern Ireland is £9.2 billion a year (€10 billion), but that would not necessarily be the cost to the Republic’s taxpayers in the event of a united Ireland.
Dr McGuinness told the Ireland’s Future meeting tonight that when the “non-identifiable expenditures” are stripped out such as the North’s contribution to the UK debt, defence budget and pension liabilities, the figures falls to between €4.9 billion and €8.6 billion per annum depending on how negotiations go with the British Government.
He acknowledged this was a lot of money but had to be seen in the context of a rise in spending by the Irish State between 2017 and 2018 from €77.4 billion to €82 billion – an increase of €4.6 billion “which is roughly the lower estimate of the subvention and that was achieved without even running a Government deficit”.
Dr McGuinness outlined the poor economic performance of the North in recent years and the chronic low productivity.
The North is the region with the highest proportion of people with low education qualifications in the UK. Some 35 per cent of children leave school with the lowest level of educational attainment in comparison with 11 per cent in the South.
The Northern economy grew by 7 per cent between 2000 and 2014; the Republic’s grew by 30 per cent in the same period
He said 21 per cent of people in the North are waiting for an elective care procedure compared to 8 per cent in England.
In the North, 94,000 people are waiting for more than a year for a consultant compared to just 3,364 in England though England has 30 times the population of Northern Ireland.
“Both health services have their problems, but you can no longer hold the NHS in the North as the gold standard or something that will be a huge loss,” he said.