Belfast Telegraph

Fury as beds are axed at Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt

More services are to be cut at a hospital which lost its A&E service just months ago.

Campaigners are furious after health chiefs confirmed that 43 medical beds at the Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt will be axed in March next year.

In-patient occupational therapy services at the hospital are also set to be slashed.

News of the latest cuts come just days after its High Dependency Unit closed down.

Earlier this year hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Magherafelt and Cookstown after the hospital’s A&E unit shut.

The latest closures at the shrinking hospital have led campaigners to brand it as nothing more than a glorified “health centre”.

Save the Mid Community Group spokeswoman Teresa McKenna condemned the plans.

She said: “We have been warning people that the cuts are not finished yet. The Mid Ulster is destined to become nothing more than a nine to five health centre.”

A Northern Trust spokesman said: “Occupational Therapy outpatient services will remain unchanged at the Mid Ulster. The trust has made provisional plans to close medical beds and in-patient OT services at the Mid Ulster Hospital in March 2011.”

He added: “The hospital will remain as a local hospital. It will retain 30 rehabilitation beds and will provide a range of day surgery and outpatient services.”

DUP MLA Alex Easton, who sits on the Stormont health committee, said: “This has come as a bit of a bolt out of the blue to me.

“It represents a further run-down of the services provided by the Mid-Ulster and it is a further kick in the teeth for local people.”

He called on Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to act immediately to “put a stop to this”.

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