MLA George Robinson has spoken in an Assembly debate about the Causeway Hospital.
Mr Robinson said: “I am pleased to speak in the Adjournment debate, and I congratulate the SDLP Member Mr Dallat for securing it.
“I congratulate all the staff at the Causeway Hospital, who have proven that they are professional, friendly and caring. I have heard those words used many times by patients and relatives alike. I also want to be positive in my contribution, as recruitment and the hospital’s future are being positively addressed.
“I have spoken to representatives of the Northern Trust and have learned that five consultants have been appointed in surgery, gastroenterology, respiratory medicine, obstetrics/gynaecology and internal medicine. I have also learned that a consultant cardiologist is being recruited for a joint post between the Causeway and Altnagelvin hospitals. Specialist doctors in general surgery, obstetrics and anaesthetics have also been appointed. That is fantastic news and will ensure continuing and permanent services at the Causeway Hospital.
“I want to outline my support for the Causeway Hospital and express my relief that the chief executive has stated his commitment to it. That has been reflected in the appointments that have been made, which will, hopefully, ensure that the other posts are filled soon. All those positive changes add great confidence and boost morale among the Causeway Hospital’s staff and, indeed, the wider community in the causeway area. The list of appointments does not show a hospital that is earmarked for closure. Indeed, I welcome the fact that those new appointments will secure the Causeway Hospital in line with the commitments from the trust’s chief executive, Dr Stevens, Dr Fred Mullan and others.
“At some stage, a great boost to the hospital and staff would be a programme of separation and independence for the Causeway and Antrim hospitals. I also welcome the trust’s developing a service for elective surgery that will further secure the future of the Causeway Hospital and the vital role that it plays for the local community and visitors to the area.
Indeed, the tourist sector benefits greatly from the presence of the Causeway Hospital. The North West 200, the air show and Portrush raft race are just some of the major attractions that we look forward to in the north-west. We may have the Open golf tournament, perhaps as early as 2019, when the Causeway Hospital will play a vital role for dozens of tourists and visitors to our beautiful north coast as well as our student population.
“There is also a close working relationship between the trust, the unions and the voluntary and community sectors that, I hope, can be extended in future to serve the entire population of the Causeway area. Despite scaremongering from some quarters, I have always believed that the Causeway Hospital can be maintained as a viable facility, and I have not changed my belief. The most important people of all in achieving this are the staff who form a remarkable unit of professionalism.
In conclusion, I quote the Northern Trust:
“The Northern Trust is well placed to deliver real and effective integration of hospital, community and social care services. In the Causeway and Glens area, this would be based around an acute hospital in Coleraine with an emergency department and supporting clinical services.”
Those words bring me reassurance, as I hope they do to all the staff and residents of the area. The Causeway Hospital has a positive and important future in health provision for the north-west of Northern Ireland. I and my colleagues, including the Health Minister, will always be available to support the chief executive, staff and others in their endeavours to keep a world-class health facility at the Causeway Hospital” concluded Mr. Robinson.
Later Mr. Robinson said “It is time the fantastic job being done by the staff and the consolidation by the Trust of Causeway Hospitals future is acknowledged and praised. The Minister stated “the model for services in the Causeway and the Glens area will be based around an acute hospital in Coleraine, with an emergency Department, supporting clinical services, a well-developed intermediate care service and community teams evenly distributed across the area”. I welcome this and hope it will stop the negativity of some surrounding Causeway Hospitals future.