Any downgrade of A&E services at a local hospital serving people the whole way “from Limavady and beyond to the Glens of Antrim” will have a “detrimental impact” on the healthcare of people in East Derry, SDLP MLA John Dallat has said.
Assemblyman Dallat was speaking about Causeway Hospital during an Assembly debate.
“The Compton Report has re-energised those with a death wish for the Causeway. The rationalisation of acute hospitals and the provision of accident and emergency services in the Belfast area may be appropriate but we don’t have four hospitals on our doorstep. “It is not sensible to be applying the same rationale when deciding to deprive a whole catchment area running from Limavady and beyond to the Glens of Antrim.
“Population figures are not the only criteria which the Health Minister needs to consider as this would simply disregard the rights of people to have a decent acute hospital and A&E service in their area. He must take into account the rights of our citizens and realise the huge social costs which the removal of this department will have on people in our communities.
“Elective surgery from other hospitals, even if it were to happen, is no substitute to a fully-functional hospital catering for the needs of its people when they need it.
“Downgrading A&E services erodes the mainstream medical and surgical departments which are essential to the proper functioning of a modern hospital. It sets in motion the next stage in the demise of a hospital built at enormous cost just over a decade ago and is a slap in the face to staff who have given years of loyal service to making the Causeway Hospital a sanctuary for people when they are at their lowest.
“Just a week ago, a petition with over 28,000 signatures was handed over calling on the Minister to save the hospital’s A&E department, but this is only a tiny fraction of those who are appalled by a review which is designed to downgrade and dilute the A&E unit at the Causeway Hospital.”