X-ray changes at Royal Victoria Hospital 'will impact the vulnerable'
The Belfast Health Trust has been urged to rethink changes to X-ray services at the Royal Victoria Hospital, after concerns a shift in location will impact on vulnerable patients.
From January, patients who are referred by their GP for common chest X-rays, spine X-rays or limb X-rays, will have to travel to the City or Mater Hospital instead.
The proposed change to the walk-in services has led to local politicians voicing "concerns" it will add stress for patients.
It has also been claimed the decision was made without proper consultation with the public.
And the lack of direct public transport between the two hospitals will also, say local representatives, create more patient stress.
The SDLP's Tim Attwood said the trust needs to reconsider the decision.
He added that it could impact on A&E services if patients "go directly to... where they know the service is available."
A spokeswoman for the trust said: "In keeping with recent changes in service provision within Belfast and the need for the Royal Victoria Hospital X-ray unit to respond quickly to patients within the Emergency Department and the wards; access for GPs for plain film examinations is now (from January) to be provided by the Belfast City Hospital and Mater units.
"This will make effective use of the existing resources within the three sites and ensure that patients referred by their GP are seen as quickly as possible."