I call on the minister to halt the decision to close the Minor Injuries Unit & 20 GP Beds in the Bangor Community Hospital.
I would appeal to Alex Easton the Private Secretary to Health Minister to use his influence to get decision overturned
This is a false economy and will lead to a significant increase in pressure at the Ulster Hospital which is already unable to meet its targets for the A&E. Figures released last week showed that the Ulster Hospital had failed to meet the target of 75% of patients being seen within 4 hours. Even this target is unacceptable as hospitals in England have a target of 95% within the 4 hours.
The additional demand from the closure of the Bangor Minor Injuries Unit will be 16%, this can not be met without additional resources or at expense of greatly reduced patient care.
As a former member of the Eastern Health & Social Services Board and Chair of the Save Bangor Hospital Committee I am personally concerned that the proposed closure has abandoned the promise made on the withdrawal of acute services from Bangor Hospital that a Minor Injuries Unit and GP Beds would be retained at Bangor Community Hospital.
This is not part of the cuts package due to be introduced next year but is a result of the long term underfunding of the NHS in N.I. This underfunding was confirmed by the previous Health Minister Edwin Poots.
The underfunding dates from 2008 when the DUP/SF parties decided to freeze expenditure on health in real terms for 4 years at atime when health spending in GB rose by 4%per annum. As a result by 2011 health spending in Northern Ireland had fallen by over 10% compared to the rest of the UK. As I pointed out in the Assembly this decision to freeze the health budget was to pay for water, passes, rates freeze, prescription changes and also to score political points against the Unionist Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.
I am pleased that local MLA Alex Easton shares my concerns and I would appeal to him as Private Secretary to the Health Minister to use his influence to get the decision reversed.