McGimpsey says now is not the time to cut our A&Es

Ulster Unionist Assembly Member for South Belfast Michael McGimpsey has called on the Minister for Health to postpone any decision on the future of the City Hospital Accident and Emergency Services

The statement from the Ulster Unionist Assembly Member follows today’s adjournment debate at the Assembly on the proposals to close Belfast City Hospital’s accident and emergency unit.

Mr McGimpsey said, “I find it very difficult to understand the rationale of the Minister in closing the City Hospital A&E at this time. Accident and Emergency Service provision in the greater Belfast area is undergoing a period of change. The Royal Hospital A&E is currently housed in a temporary building to accommodate the construction of the new Critical Care Unit that will provide a new A&E unit with intensive care and emergency theatre provision. This multi-million pound development is not due to be completed for at least another two years.”

“The Ulster Hospital A&E which was originally built to accommodate 30,000 visits per year and now copes with around 70,000 is due to be upgraded but with no start date confirmed there is still great uncertainty as to the future of this development.”

Mr McGimpsey continued, “Under the Belfast Trust’s own plan, ‘delivering better services’ the closure of the City Hospital A&E had never been anticipated. The Royal would be upgraded to be the main A&E for Belfast with the City Hospital providing a backup service.”

In conclusion Mr McGimpsey said, “I am calling on the Minister for Health to defer his decision to close the City Hospital. I can see no justification for such a move at this time. Entering a period of winter pressure where we are likely to see increased demand for elderly services, treatment of flu and orthopedics is no time to be testing a reduced accident and emergency service when the existing system is already struggling to cope.”

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