Ulster Unionist Assembly Member Michael McGimpsey has described tomorrows planned closure of the Belfast City Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit as a betrayal of the people of South Belfast.
The planned closure has been described by the Department of Health and the Belfast Trust as a temporary measure with the public consultation regarding it’s long term future yet to be announced.
In a statement Mr McGimpsey said,”I have very much been against the closure of the City Hospital Accident and Emergency Department since it was announced back in July of this year. The people of South Belfast feel betrayed by the actions of the Department for Health in closing the unit. We see it as a premature decision prior to the completion and opening of the new critical care unit at the Royal Hospital in two years time.”
“There has been no consultation prior to the closure, nor has the Minister even been able to confirm when one is likely to begin. The credibility of the department has been damaged by this move as nobody in South Belfast believes that the closure is in any way temporary. We believe it is closed and closed for good. This belief would appear to be proven correct today by the Medical Director of the Belfast Trust who stated that there was no ‘significant prospect’ of the A&E opening again.”
“I am concerned by the increased pressure that the other emergency departments in the Greater Belfast area will have to cope with particularly entering the winter period with the increased demand that it will bring. Flu season as well as the inevitable increase in the number of fractures and broken bones associated with winter conditions will have a detrimental impact on the quality of care, particularly for our elderly population and place hard pressed staff under even greater pressure.”
In conclusion Mr McGimpsey said, “I believe that if the Northern Ireland Executive was serious about providing a quality health service it would make the necessary investment to do so and we would not be facing the closure of the City Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit. In my opinion this decision is purely economic and not based on what is best for patient care.”