Minister Robin Swann has welcomed Covid-19 allocations totalling £566 million for the Department of Health.
The Minister said: “I realise that the scale of pressures several departments continue to face at this particularly challenging time significantly exceeds the available funding. I therefore welcome the additional allocations to my department which includes £526.7 million resource and £32.4 million capital funding, which will be essential in our fight against Covid-19.
“The funding will enable us to augment still further our stocks of PPE, and facilitate safe storage; continue with enhancements to our test trace and isolate systems; and provide funding for our ongoing response to this pandemic, such as the completion of the second Nightingale Hospital at Whiteabbey.
“It also allows me to move forward immediately with the provision of free car parking to HSC staff until 31 March 2021.
“A further allocation of £7.3m provided to my department for hospices and the Cancer Fund for Children, will help support the important services they provide given the impact of Covid-19 on their fundraising activities.”
Funding of £6.3 million was also provided from in year monitoring.
Minister Swann also highlighted the continuing pressures surrounding the future funding requirements for Health.
He concluded: “This year has underlined the need to expect the unexpected. There are inevitable uncertainties about the path this pandemic will take and the future funding pressures that will be faced.
“A vaccine for Covid-19 would require significant investment.
“I am confident that the commitment displayed by the Executive to tackle the unprecedented challenges posed by this pandemic will be maintained. This will allow us to continue the necessary support for health and social care staff working at the front line.
“On behalf of myself, the people of Northern Ireland and my Executive colleagues, I take this opportunity to again express my sincere thanks to, appreciation of, and admiration for their heroic efforts.”