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MHK unhappy at 'user pays' principle

Strategy 'vital' to avoid piecemeal increases

A Ramsey MHK is questioning whether increased charges are the best way to address government funding issues.

Lawrie Hooper says the 'user pays' principle adopted by government, isn't the fairest way to levy funds, and other methods like an increase in national insurance need to be considered. 

This week the Health Department unveiled proposals which would see increases in prescription contributions, raised charges for dental care and an end to free eye tests.

While some politicians support the move, aimed at eredicing the dparmtent's £11 million overspend, critics say it will hit some groups hard, especially pensioners under the age of 75.

Mr Hooper says an overarching strategy is needed to tackle funding problems, rather than imposing increases service by service:   

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