UUP North Antrim MLA Robin Swann has challenged DUP health minister Jim Wells to “give a cast-iron guarantee that Ballycastle’s much-needed Dalriada Hospital will have a long-term future”.
Assemblyman Swann issued his call to Minister Wells during question time in the Chamber.
Mr Swann said: “The Minister referred to hospitals working in partnership. He will know that the Dalriada Hospital is used as a step-down facility for the Causeway Hospital. Can he give the House an update on where the Dalriada Hospital stands at the minute?”
Responding to Assemblyman Swann, Minister Wells said: “The honourable Member will know that a judicial review was taken by one of the patients who used the Dalriada Hospital and that interim relief was granted by the courts in response.
“Therefore, I am abiding by the terms of that legal opinion. There is no change at the moment to services at the Dalriada.
“I will also say that there has been the most incredible public response in the Moyle area to any change to the status of the Dalriada.
“Indeed, I think that we have all been taken aback by the sheer scale of it and the input from the entire community.
“Therefore, we will keep the situation under review, but the trust has confirmed that it will fully comply with the court’s interim relief ruling and has restored the status quo at Dalriada by increasing the staffing complement and admitting additional patients.
“That is an indication that, when the courts rule, this Department simply has to follow that. We have no option,” Minister Wells told Mr Swann.
Mr Swann added: “We don’t need excuses from the Minister. We need a cast-iron guarantee that the Minister secure the ‘Dal’s long-term future. The hospital plays a vital role in the community and this must be protected.”