Belfast Telegraph

Mater hospital will retain its A&E, vows minister

By Lisa Smyth

There are no plans to make any changes to A&E at the Mater Hospital, the Health Minister has said.

Responding to a question on the future of the Mater, Michael McGimpsey said there would be no changes to the casualty unit.

The future of the Mater's A&E was cast into doubt in June when the Belfast Trust published plans to designate it as a local hospital — meaning many acute services would be scrapped.

Mr McGimpsey recently approved proposals to downgrade the A&E overnight at the Downe Hospital — also a local hospital — after South Eastern Trust bosses reported difficulties in attracting adequately trained doctors.

However, at Stormont yesterday, Mr McGimpsey said the Mater’s future was assured. "That hospital has a very important role to play in the delivery of hospital services in Belfast,’’ he said.

Last week a team looking to make savings in the NHS suggested cutting the number of acute hospitals and increasing the number of local hospitals across Northern Ireland.

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