DUP Alderman James McClure has renewed his call for clarification on the future of the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.
The Coleraine representative, who took former Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to task for accusing him of scaremongering over the issue nearly two years ago, said: “I was right to challenge the Minister at that time.
“The staff at Causeway are no clearer on the future of the hospital today than they were back in August 2010 when I raised the issue.”
Alderman McClure, who has been a patient at Causeway on several occasions over the past two years, said recent comments by two senior consultants underlined his fears and the concerns of staff for the future of the hospital.
“Both Dr. Owen Finnegan and retired consultant John Robb, a man who tirelessly led the successful campaign for a new hospital in the town many years ago, have warned that cutting services would be catastrophic for Causeway and place local people and visitors at significant risk.
“Any downgrading of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department would be disastrous and send out the wrong signal about the future of services in the area.”
Alderman McClure added: “I have received the best of medical care during my stays in hospital. That is testament to the professional and caring manner of the staff. Receiving medical expertise locally was reassuring for me and also much more convenient in terms of having my family close at hand.
“I believe it is in the interests of open government and the community of this area that we hear what is or is not proposed for our hospital services in Coleraine.
“The people of this Borough fought long and hard to have a new hospital built on a greenfield site. The campaign galvanised local people and the community now has every right to know what the future holds for Causeway.
“Many people have been expressing their very real concerns after it was suggested that services could be under threat. Any amalgamation of services must not be undertaken if it means downgrading Causeway.
“If we let Government use the recession as an excuse to savage our Health Service and other services we will be failing in our duty.”
Alderman McClure said: “The taxpayer is funding the Health Service. Therefore, as taxpayers, we are all entitled to know what is planned.
“We have the right to demand the retention of services that are essential to delivering the highest levels of health care.
“Staff morale at the Causeway continues to be dented by the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital and that leaves those trying to provide a high level of care in a most difficult situation.”