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Health Trusts to outline draft plans to save £70million

After the health trusts publish their savings proposals, there will be a six-week public consultation period. Credit: PA

Northern Ireland's five health trust are due to outline saving plans of around £70 million.

Trust bosses have called 'extraordinary meetings' on Thursday to discuss their proposals with the public.

They have been told by the Department of Health that savings of £70 million must be made before the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

It is understood that among the main proposals to save money include a reduction in temporary staff and hospital beds.

The health service has an annual budget of more than £5 billion, however the sector remains under enormous strain.

The Department of Health said there are "significant challenges" to the health service due to inflation, an increasing and ageing population and the cost of new treatments.

After the health trusts publish their savings proposals, there will be a six-week public consultation period.

During that period, the Health and Social Care Board will work with the trusts to develop ways to "mitigate as far as possible the proposed temporary service changes" and "maintain quality of provision", the Department of Health said.