Protest over future of Causeway Hospital

Published Friday, 22 June 2012
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A protest was held on Friday outside the Northern Trust's headquarters in Ballymena as a meeting took place to discuss the future of the Causeway Hospital.

Protest over future of Causeway Hospital
Protesters outside the Northen Trust headquarters on Friday. (© UTV)

The head of the Trust says they will not be recommending the closure of the Coleraine based hospital's A&E in the medium term.

But he said there could be problems sustaining both of the trust's hospitals - the Causeway and Antrim Area - in the longer term.

The Health Minister will announce his decision on the future of health care in Northern Ireland on 4 July.

Retired surgeon Dr John Robb was involved in the original plan for the Causeway Hospital - and organised Friday's protest.

"You are on the slippery slope down the road to losing departments in the hospital and ultimately as we've seen in Northern Ireland in a number of places the hospital itself disappears," he said.

"I think it would be very dangerous [to remove the A&E] because you do have conditions which need to be treated pretty much immediately."

He added: "I believe in the people's protest and I believe in the right of people to express their opinion and because of that, I do believe there will be a re-think of the A&E in the Causeway, Coleraine."

Dr Robb said the problem facing the hospital was not just a problem for Coleraine itself.

He added that the people protesting on Friday were from all over north Antrim and the triangle area of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine.

Mike Jones, chairman of the Castlerock Community Association, said the Causeway A&E is particularly important to the elderly community and to parents of young children.

He said for the people of Castlerock, a longer trip to Antrim Hospital by ambulance could be "a matter of life and death."

"It is unacceptable."

© UTV News
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7 Comments
dave in coleraine wrote (764 days ago):
"The head of the Trust says they will not be recommending the closure of the Coleraine based hospital's A&E in the medium term. But he said there could be problems sustaining both of the trust's hospitals - the Causeway and Antrim Area - in the longer term." YES we know it's a medium term plan, the Transforming Your Care implementation, if Causeway comes in it's crosshairs will be implemented by 2016. i.e. it's a medium term threat to Causeways services. That does NOT remove the threat, even as a slow burn threat it is still there and it will be in the post by yhe end of June if the HSC agree to it. Though it still would need to be approved at the assembly level. HSC Board recieve the completed draft plans this week from the Trusts for assesment by the end of June. If you want to contact anyone to complain about the threat to Causeway and support the hospital this week, google them up and go for it! All the details are on the "Contact us" page of their website.
north coaster in north coast wrote (765 days ago):
Unison demo on Saturday in Coleraine had a good turn out too given limited publicity. I'd reckon about 1500 to 2000. Hopefully Utv will cover that too. Only saw two press attending unfortunately. Causeway has fewer beds than the 3 acute hospitals it replaced 11 years ago!
Marty in Singapore wrote (765 days ago):
Typical debate on health... Coleraine hospital was over sized when built! And is now to expensive... A local American style 24 hr trauma Ctr would have been much more appropriate.... Mid ulster, Fermanagh and newry are the same.... 2 main hospitals (Derry and Belfast) are enough for the population. GP surgerys are making large sums of profit and need to deliver more local non emergency services!
Dave in Coleraine wrote (766 days ago):
"But he said there could be problems sustaining both of the trust's hospitals - the Causeway and Antrim Area - in the longer term." Rubbish, the Northern Trust has a population close to 500, 000 already and is the biggest trust in the province by area and population. It also sees a population surge in the summer to the north coast to easily exceed half a million. If any trust in N.I. should have two full time A&E's it's the Northern Trust. The Board has allegedly a vanity project its pushing in the midst of a recession for a closure of two hospitals A&E's 18 and 11 years old respectively to build a 500m new hospital to the North of Ballymena where the trust is headquartered. They are trying to use this as a trojan horse to get councils to buy this plan and make us all travel crazy distances in emergencies. Antrim is 20 minutes from RVH, Causeway is much further from alternatives, but Causeway is the target it seems, even though it's better organised in Triage etc. Compton also says staff should rotate through trusts, let's see the trust solve the false causeway problems that way.
northcoaster in north coast wrote (766 days ago):
There is another protest today (23rd) at 2.30pm at Coleraine town hall, everyone welcome, let's defend Causeway together. There is also a meeting to start a full community campaign 4th July 7.30pm, Coleraine Leisure Centre, everyone welcome especially representitives of local interested social organisations. This is going to need a lot of horsepower to stop any cuts, particularly the proposed overnight shutdown of A&E that keeps getting hidden behind the "no closure" line.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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