A motion put forward by SDLP councillor Roisin Loftus expressing concerns about the conditions experienced by patients at A&E departments across Northern Ireland has been passed by Coleraine Borough Council.
The motion read: ‘This Council expresses grave concern at the conditions recently experienced by patients in many of the A&E departments across Northern Ireland.
“Calls on Minister of Health to actively work for the local community to ensure service provision and demonstrate political will to provide the much needed facilities, including A&E service, which allows for the best possible care for patients in the Coleraine area.’
Councillor Loftus said that motion also paid tribute to medical staff at the Causeway.
The Kilrea councillor also appealed to Minister Poots to make a statement encouraging applications for the vacant posts at Causeway Hospital.
Alliance councillor Barney Fitzpatrick supported the motion.
He added: “More staff is needed at Causeway, and more beds would ensure that the best services are available to both residents of the this borough and tourists.”
DUP councillor Trevor Clarke put forward an amendment to the motion. His amendment acknowledged all health care professionals at the Causeway Hospital, particularly their efforts in reducing waiting times at the A&E Department.
The amendment called on Council to continue to support the improvement to acute services at the Causeway Hospital
Providing figures, councillor Clarke said that they showed the progress that had been taking place at Causeway Hospital under the leadership of Minister Poots.
However, he told the meeting: “health care is not about statistics it’s about people.”
Mayor of Coleraine, councillor David Harding pointed out that Council had met with senior management of the Hospital recently, he said: “ We have consistently and robustly made clear our views on the hospital.”
Summing up the debate, councillor Loftus called on councillor Clarke to withdraw his amendment: “I welcome the fact that services at A&E have improved, but the fact is our local hospital is under threat.”
In reply, councillor Clarke said: “ I note your comments but the motion talks about Northern Ireland as a whole, something that is beyond our control.
“This Council should be supporting provisions for improvement at Causeway.” On being put to a vote nine voted for the amendment and ten voted against it.
There were ten votes for the motion and one against.