Fury over hospital cuts

Councillor Joan Baird at Dalriada Hospital where six beds are to go.INBM44-13 108L
Councillor Joan Baird at Dalriada Hospital where six beds are to go.INBM44-13 108L

MOYLE councillors have united to condemn cuts at Dalriada Hospital in Ballycastle.

Cllr Joan Baird said she was “absolutely furious” when she heard about the situation which she said is “totally and absolutely unacceptable”.

Cllr Baird said Dalriada Hospital is a first class facility and they don’t want to lose any of its services.

Cllr Donal Cunningham claimed there was a “bigger problem” with the Northern Health Trust “but Dalriada Hospital is the one that is going to suffer”.

Council Chairperson, Cllr Cara McShane (Sinn Fein), said they have seen a depletion of Multiple Sclerosis services at the hospital over the years.

She said it was “completely disgusting” to reduce the MS department from 12 beds to eight and to be losing two beds from general rehab.

And she claimed staff have been told not to talk to the media or public representatives which she also branded “disgusting”.

She said the situation at the hospital is “death by a thousand cuts” and she called for an urgent meeting with the Trust to discuss the situation.

Cllr McShane said the people of Ballycastle can identify with the needs of MS sufferers as people who come to the hospital can often be seen in local shops.

Sinn Fein councillor Colum Thompson said they should also write to the Health Minister.

Cllr Baird said there had been no consultation carried out with medical staff but that the information was “simply handed down”.

Focusing on budget management, the councillor alleged that the Northern Trust are “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

In a statement, Cllr Donal Cunningham said: “Dalriada Hospital has been the focal point for many health services in the Ballycastle area and must continue to play it’s role within local health service provision.”