A&E hours cut at two hospitals

Published Monday, 23 December 2013
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Accident and emergency opening hours at two hospitals in Counties Antrim and Down are to be reduced due to a shortage of doctors.

A&E hours cut at two hospitals
Accident and Emergency Department hours are set to be cut, the trust confirmed. (© UTV)

The South Eastern Trust confirmed on Monday that A&E hours at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick and Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn will be cut from 4 January.

A statement said: "Both emergency departments will be closed on Saturday and Sunday until further notice and will operate from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

"This represents no change to the Lagan Valley week day hours, while the Downe ED will close at 8pm instead of 10pm on weekdays."

The trust said it "regrets" the changes but explained that they are being made due to a "critical" shortage of suitably qualified emergency medicine doctors.

It said patients who require emergency care, especially sudden and acute illness or severe trauma, should go to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, or their nearest hospital.

A statement went on: "The trust is clear that there is no better alternative to these changes at this time and has taken this action because we are determined to retain as much access as possible to emergency care services for local people, at their local hospital by compressing opening hours.

"We will be working with the Health and Social Care Board and others to put alternative arrangements in place to address this difficulty as soon as possible."

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has asked Health Minister Edwin Poots to intervene after the announcement.

"There must now be direct ministerial intervention to ensure the on-going continuation of services at the Downe Hospital," the SDLP representative said.

"Admissions to the wards of the Downe must be secured and the doors must be kept open. The people of south Downe fought long and hard over a 30 year period for the new hospital and services. We cannot lose out now.

"The trust must come forward now with a plan on how to restore the seven day service as a matter of urgency."

© UTV News
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23 Comments
Rod in Belfast wrote (113 days ago):
My wife needed an opp last year and ended up being sent down south for a private opp with three nights hotel paid for myself into the deal as well. Bus loads of people going down each week at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year! We were told at the time this was a cheaper way of doing things, how can this be? Somthing wrong with the way the health service is run! Also had to visit a&e this year and had a five hour wait, this was mainly because the place was full of drunks milking the health service for more money
fed up in lisburn in lisburn wrote (114 days ago):
Poots is a disgrace. Shame on you. Time we all voted for people who really cared for what is needed in our city and not whether its for one side or the other. Start telling the truth and maybe you'll be more respected. You care more for your flags and anti gay belief's than the people off lisburn.
chris hunter in ballynahinch wrote (115 days ago):
Is it coincidence that the hospital A&E closures were announced during the Hass talks hoping that they would not be noticed. If it was a Belfast Hospital the news would be full of it but it was hardly mentioned, I owe a lot to the DOWNE and it needs to be kept open, Parking at the ROYAL and DUNDONALD is a joke never mind the waiting times,
David in Belfast wrote (115 days ago):
How else do you think your free prescriptions are being paid for. Bring back prescripton charge and the NHS will have money to spend on keeping A&E departments open
Mike in Belfast wrote (115 days ago):
Colin in Bangor is exactly right. It seems like flegs are more important to the NI protesting public than the valuable health service. Time Poots and his ilke were sent packing and the people of NI woke up to what is really important.
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