§ Rev. William McCrea
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make funds available to enable wards and beds, closed permanently or temporarily, to be reopened.
§ Mr. Hanley
Resources of £830 million will be available to health and social services boards in Northern Ireland in 1991–92, an increase of almost £84 million on the current year. It is a matter for boards to determine the distribution of their resources across the various programmes of care.
Bed closures in the last five years have been in line with the targets set in the Department's regional strategy and have been achieved through improvements in performance resulting in a more efficient use of beds and other resources. Over the same period the total number of patients treated increased by more than 12 per cent. to 315,962 and the total number of operations by 15 per cent. to 274,172.