Ulster Unionist Party MLA Michael McGimpsey has warned that reducing key health services, such as closing Minor Injuries Units and intermediate beds, could push the NHS here into further crisis and distress.
The South Belfast MLA said:
“Over recent weeks there has been a raft of announcements from the Department and Health Trusts stating that they are closing or downscaling major services. These included closing several Minor Injuries Units (MIUs), shutting entire wards and radically reducing the number of intermediate or step-down beds.
“None of the proposals were based on what was best for patients, rather they were decided on which saved the most amount of money in the short term. That is no way to run the NHS.
“These cuts, which will simply heap pressure onto our already overstretched major and acute hospitals, are coming at the worst possible time of the year. We are only just entering the winter period; a time when demand on the local health service increases significantly.
“During my time as Health Minister I saw the benefit of having a network of local community hospitals providing non acute health services. During the winter crisis three years ago, MIUs and intermediate beds played a major role in keeping waiting lists under control and our A&Es manageable.
“I welcome the Minister’s recognition last week that the proposal to close Bangor Minor Injuries Unit was flawed. I would now call on him to show the same judgement for the MIUs proposed for closure at Whiteabbey and Armagh.”