COLERAINE DUP Alderman James McClure claims figures just released by the Department of Health present a strong case for the retention of Accident and Emergency Department at Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital.
Alderman McClure said: “A Government-ordered shake-up of the NHS, the Compton Review, means the Causeway’s A&E is facing a downgrade or closure but figures for attendances at A&E in 2011-12 show 43,594 visits to the Unit.
“While this figure is down on last year’s total, it is considerably higher than two yeas ago and indicates the need for the Department to remain.”
If the 10-year-old A&E is shut, patients in the Causeway area will be forced to travel to Antrim or Altnagelvin but Alderman McClure argues that neither hospital would be able to cope with the increase.
“At a time when hospital services are being cut back in many areas and staffing levels are falling, it is obvious that Coleraine must retain its full services.” Alderman McClure argues.
“How many lives would be put at risk if patients in extreme circumstances could not receive emergency treatment in Coleraine and were forced to travel 40 more minutes to the nearest A&E?
“People are angry that after fighting to have a new hospital built on a greenfield site, the Government are looking for excuses to scale back on health services and deny residents of North Antrim and North Londonderry such a vital provision.”