Published Thursday, 09 August 2012
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Nine months ago the department closed temporarily, struggling and unable to get senior staff.
Now nine months later it is unlikely that it will open its doors again.
At a meeting on Thursday, the Health and Social Care Board supported the Belfast Trust's recommendation to keep emergency services in their area between the Royal and Mater.
Dean Sullivan of the Board said: "The preferred option that we we're going out to consultation on the subject to the Minister's confirmation is a proposal to have an emergency department service within the Royal hospital which is the regional trauma centre for Northern Ireland and a second one within the Mater hospital."
Even though shocking stories have emerged over the last few months about patients being left for hours on trolleys, the Trust believes the Royal and Mater A&E's have been operating well.
It said new systems have been put in place utilising other specialist services at the City so patients bypass the other two emergency units.
"GPs can have their patients directly admitted to the City Hospital," explained Bernie Owens, Co-Director of Acute Services.
"So say for example the patient has a respiratory condition like asthma, that there is an acute problem, and they want the patient admitted.
"They can contact the acute unit directly and have the patient come up to the unit and they are either admitted or treated and discharged from there."
However the unions are far from happy with the development.
Patricia McKeown of Unison said it comes as no shock.
"It's no coincidence that we now have a private A&E department opening in the same location," she told UTV.
"Now the Compton plan is a charter to cut close and privatise and I really think that the citizens should be starting to ask some very hard questions, both of the Health and Social Care and of their local trusts because there is going to be a lot more of this."
While it's still being billed a temporary closure, the recommendation for the City to stay shut will now be given to Health Minister Edwin Poots, who is expected to give it his seal of approval.
It then goes out for public consultation with the final announcement made early next year.