£190 million boost for Northern Ireland's health service

An extra £190 million has been made available to the Department of Health.

A budgeting concession made by the Treasury means the Executive can now access the funds to help boost stocks of PPE.

The Health Minister Robin Swann says the move will allow stocks of PPE to build, and to overlap financial years.

Mr Swann said: “The changes made by the Treasury will allow my Department to spend £175m in this financial year on PPE supplies that can be used in the 2021/22 financial year.

The Minister added: “PPE is essential for protecting our staff and patients and this year more than ever it is vital that we continue to build on our stocks.

"This will be significant in dealing with the cost consequences of the pandemic.” 

The Finance Minister Conor Murphy had previously requested flexibility from the Treasury to carry over funding from Northern Ireland's Covid-19 relief budget into the next financial year.

Minister Swann added: "I welcome the Finance Minister seeking further flexibility to carry forward funds into next year recognising the health pressures we face and his commitment to multi-year budgets.

"I call on Treasury to grant this flexibility and going forward to provide a multi-year Spending Review.”

The Department of Health had previously returned £90m of Covid-19 funding as the budgeting rules had prevented it from being spent on PPE at that time.