HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots says his Department is currently considering how welfare reform will affect health and social care services and what implications it will have on patients.
Green MLA Stephen Agnew asked whether his Department had any plans to undertake an assessment of the projected costs to health and social care as a result of the implementation of the welfare reforms.
Mr Poots replied: “My Department is currently considering what the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit alongside other Welfare Reform changes will be on health and social care services.
“My officials will continue to liaise with their counterparts in the Department for Social Development and with their counterparts in Great Britain to assess any potential implications for services and patients.”
Morbidity and mortality rates as well as jobless rates have been consistently higher in Londonderry than the NI average.
And a health service report in 2010 showed that poor people were dying younger than their more affluent neighbours in Londonderry and the wider Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT).
The review of mortality and morbidity rates showed that the largest Western Trust inequality gaps occurred in alcohol related mortality (112 per cent) and self-harm admissions (89 per cent), teenage births (76 per cent) and smoking during pregnancy (71 per cent).
And just last year the Western Trust’s Community and Resuscitation Development Officer, Nicola McGlinchey wrote to Derry City Council explaining 125 people die from heart disease in Londonderry every year.