10/08/2007

NIPSA Brand Hospital Artwork Spending Decision As "Madness"

The health service union NIPSA has hit out at a decision to spend £30m on artwork for Northern Ireland’s hospitals.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has announced its intention to spend just under £3 billion on its capital projects over the next 10 years, with one per cent of that capital to be spent on artwork.

Confirming the artwork spending policy, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety said that the department recognises the importance of incorporating art in the design and finish of healthcare facilities and it is current policy to provide for art in projects costing no more than one per cent of capital.

Bumper Graham, assistant general secretary of NIPSA branded the spending as ‘madness’ and said that in an ideal world, he would be happy with the provision of artwork for the patients - but not when 1,700 jobs are under threat due to planned health service savings of £48 million over the next three years.

Mr Graham also said that although one per cent sounded like a small amount, it was not when it amounted to £30 million.

The spending came to light when it was revealed that £4 million was being spent on artwork as part of the £400 million redevelopment of the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald.

(SB)

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