THE Health minister has given his clearest hint yet about the future of the Causeway Hospital.
Prompted by a question from local MLA, Mervyn Storey, Minister Edwin Poots, said: “It is incredibly important - just to put it on record again - that the Causeway Hospital has a very strong future.”
He added: “It is absolutely necessary in order to provide quality services to the public in that area.
“We will give due attention to ensuring that we can continue to provide quality services in that part of Northern Ireland.”
Mr. Storey had asked his DUP colleague if he would outline what signs of improvement he could identify already in the Northern Trust having already mentioning some.
“In particular, could he comment on whether the Northern Trust had made any progress on the issue of the employment of consultants, particularly at the Causeway Hospital.
In response, Mr Poots said: “The teams and the work processes have been established. This is not purely about the emergency department at Antrim Area Hospital; it is about the Northern Trust.
“It is critically important to ensure that this is not just about a single issue; there must be comprehensive and wholesale improvement across the Trust.”
On the question of consultant base at the Hospital, Mr. Poot said:
“The course of work that has been identified will look at matching medical capacity to patient demand.
“We are looking at how we can do the other capacity exercise so that we can better inform our discussions with commissioners.
“That will enable us to have the appropriate support for the Causeway Hospital and its consultants, and to have the appropriate number of consultants at that facility over a range of services.”