DUP Alderman James McClure is insisting that the public must become involved in a battle to retain full health services in Coleraine.
Expressing a guarded welcome for the Northern Health Trust’s opinion that the Maternity Unit at Causeway Hospital is unlikely to close in the short term, he said: “I believe parents have the right to have their children born in Coleraine and not have to travel to Antrim so retention of the Maternity Unit is a priority,” said Alderman McClure.
“Coleraine though must secure all its services for a population of over 56,000 which is the third largest in the Trust area and I would urge people to become part of the battle.
“Coleraine is unique in having both a significant student population and a seasonal pattern of change in the resident population which means that at peak summer times the number of persons residing in the borough is more than twice the usually resident number.”
He added: “Causeway Hospital must retain the provision of emergency and acute care.
“Local people require local services and there is a real concern that proposals to move some services to Antrim Area Hospital will increase the drive time for patients seeking care to an hour and up to 75 minutes from some area..
“The road infrastructure deteriorates significantly north of Ballymena and the A26 is increasingly congested and is sometimes closed due to traffic accidents.
“The Trust should be making a commitment to maintaining key services in full at Coleraine.”
Alderman McClure said that suggestions of a closer link-up with Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry were also “an excuse” to diminish services in Coleraine.