BALLYMONEY Borough Council has agreed to back a call to ensure the future of Causeway Hospital.
The issue was raised during last Monday’s Full Council meeting when members of Causeway Hospital Campaign Group made a presentation to members.
At the meeting, it was revealed that CHC is ‘a group of professionals and community residents interested in and concerned with the sustainability and long-term viability of Causeway Hospital’.
Outlining their Mission Statement, they explained: ‘In response to the document Transforming Your Care, our aims are to highlight anxieties about the actual and potential downgrading of Causeway Hospital, to lobby for improved staffing ratios and augmented services in order to maintain the full status of an acute hospital in Causeway, and to interrogate the position of Causeway Hospital within the Northern Health Trust.
‘We are determined to ensure that both citizens and visitors to the area receive skilled, appropriate and timely interventions to meet their health needs.
‘To this end we will: 1. Press for the maintaining of acute services at the Causeway Hospital, and especially the retention of: A 24 hour A & E Unit supported by essential specialisms in Medicine, Surgery and Laboratory Services, a Consultant-led Maternity Unit and local In-patient Psychiatric Services.
‘2. Carefully monitor recruitment to posts at the Causeway Hospital and ensure that staffing resources are equitably spread between the hospitals in the Relevant Trusts’ area.
‘3. Participate in all consultations relating to Health and Social Care.
‘4. Take any further action necessary to protect the range and quality of work achieved by the Causeway Hospital.
‘5. Work with Local Council, Health Trust and key partners to ensure the retention of agreed services at Causeway Hospital.
‘6. Counteract any further perceived threats to the Hospital.
‘7. Make information available to the general public.’
Following a number of questions from councillors regarding the downgrading of services, possibility of the hospital’s closure and the lack of funding issues, a CHC spokesperson explained that the hospital’s future was to ‘move with the times’ and could ‘continue to provide acute hospital services that are safe, high quality, sustainable and effective’.
Having recently been in Causeway Hospital Cllr Roma McAfee praised the ‘first class service’ she had received and thanked all the staff for their hard work and dedication.
In response to members concerns Cllr Ian Stevenson highlighted that sometimes ‘rumours spread and become reality’ therefore a positive attitude was necessary adding ‘lets not fuel the rumours’.
Concluding Cllr John Finlay said ‘Council was fully behind the campaign group’.