Priority will be given to projects to be implemented at an expenditure of Rs.4000 million in the war-affected Mullaitivu district and a official ceremony to mark the inauguration of the implementation process will be held on August 28 headed by Minister Hakeem and participated by State Minister Sudharshani Fernandopulle, parliamentarians representing the district, members of the Northern Provincial Council and political leaders. Minister of City Planning and Water Supply and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem directed ministry officials in-charge of implementing new water supply schemes to fast-track the implementation process.He issued the directions at a meeting with ministry officials at the ministry auditorium on implementation of a Rs.25,000 million World Bank projects, under the special focus and instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena. The projects are to be implemented in the seven districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Moneragala, Badulla, Ratnapura , Nuwara Eliya and Kegalle and the discussions at the meeting were centred on the preliminary arrangements. Over 100, 000 people of the district will get clean drinking, about 15,000 families will be provided latrines with high standard sanitary facilities while special focus will be laid on providing toilet facilities to the latrines differently-abled and families headed by women. Implementation of projects on providing clean drinking water to people of areas inflicted with kidney disease will be expedited, it was reported at the meeting.The National Water Supply and Drainage Board and the National Community Water Supply Department will collectively implement water supply projects in the divisional secretary areas of Maritimepatru, Pudukudiyruppu, Oddusuddan and Welioya, project directors told at the meeting. Sixty percent of thed total population of the district will be benefited under the program. Former parliamentarian Muththalib Bawa Farook, Ministry Secretary Sarath Chandrasiri Vithane, Additional Secretary A.C.M.Nafeel and other senior officials attended the meeting. (Colombo Gazette)
Accident and Emergency departments have had their worst November performance on record, stoking fears that the NHS is facing a major winter crisis.Official figures show just 87.6 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent.It has not been hit since July 2015.The statistics show that more than 54,000 people had to wait longer for treatment, including more than 250 forced to wait 12 hours or more on a trolley.It comes as the first weekly winter figures show that last week, 25 A&E departments were forced to divert ambulances elsewhere.A review of NHS targets is considering whether it should be altered, with minor injuries excluded from assessments.But senior A&E doctors oppose the idea, which has provoked criticism that it is simply an attempt to help ensure targets can be met.A 10 year plan for the NHS is due to be announced shortly, which will set out how a £20bn spending boost will be used. However, health policy experts fear that simply getting the health service to meet existing targets would soak up most of the money.Last winter saw the highest death toll in more than 40 years after the failure of last year’s flu jab. There were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2017/18 – the highest recorded since winter 1975/76, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.Health officials are concerned about low take-up of vaccines this year, and say the new jab should be a good match for the main strain in circulation this year.Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said: “Winter is only just beginning for our NHS and these are hugely concerning figures that don’t bode well for the difficult weeks ahead. “While Government remains paralysed by Brexit infighting, the NHS is struggling as a result of years of underfunding, cuts and staffing shortages. Rather than their self-interest, Tory ministers must start prioritising patients’ interests by outlining proposals for the NHS this winter.“It would be totally unforgivable if patients suffered another winter crisis like the ones we’ve seen in recent years.“Patients will expect the imminent NHS plan to have a clear credible solution to chronic understaffing and a roadmap for restoring performance that has so unacceptably deteriorated in recent years.”An NHS spokesman said: “NHS staff continue to work hard to deal with increased demand across the board, seeing 1,000 more people within four hours in A&E every day in November compared to last year Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The performance statistics released by NHS England show there were 2.04 million attendances last month – fewer than the 2.08 million seen in October.But more people had to wait longer, with 258 patients waiting more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission, while 54,373 had to wait longer than four hours.The figures for November come after health leaders warned this winter could see hundreds of thousands of patients stranded in cramped corridors on hospital trolleys waiting for a bed.Dr Rob Harwood, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultant committee, said last week that this winter “could be the worst on record” for emergency departments, predicting a rise in the number of A&E attendances, longer waits and more people needing hospital admissions.The doctors’ union said that in order to keep bed occupancy at safe levels over winter, hospitals need to boost capacity.