The High Court has today (Thursday) ordered the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Department of Health to remove a non-admissions policy in place at Dalriada Hospital in Ballycastle.
The ruling comes as part of a Judicial Review being taken against the decision to temporarily close the hospital from 30th November 2014 until March 2015 based on the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s failure to carry out adequate consultation.
As part of the challenge, lawyers acting on behalf of Mrs Philomena McKay, who suffers from MS and uses respite facilities at Dalriada, have successfully requested that a recently announced non-admissions policy put place at the hospital be lifted until the Judicial Review case is heard.
Dr Réamaí Mathers from ‘Save the Dal’ campaign group has said that today’s ruling further shows the need for Health Minister Jim Wells MLA to intervene: “Although today’s ruling is positive, it is extremely regrettable that things have been allowed to progress to this stage.
“Mrs McKay suffers from MS and faces enough challenges in her day to day life without having to battle in the courts those who are supposed to be supporting her.
“For over five weeks we have made it abundantly clear to Health Minister Jim Wells MLA that the entire approach to the closure of Dalriada Hospital is fundamentally flawed, now he is hearing it from the High Court.
“We once again urge the Minister to immediately intervene and work with the local community and health professionals to ensure that Dalriada Hospital continues to play a vital role in the provision of health care for the people of Ballycaste, the Glens, Rathlin, Bushmills and the Moyle area, as well as patients throughout the entire Northern Trust.”