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Amalgamation at hospital 'is mind-boggling'

Aiming to downgrade, or close, a small hospital, school, or post office in a small, local community results in losses difficult to define as well as the obvious material ones.

Such losses may have a deteriorating to destructive effect on human working relationships and human well-being proportionately far greater than in the less-likely event of any similar downgrading taking place in large conurbations.

It has taken some time for the 'new' Causeway Hospital in Coleraine to develop a settled personality. Now that the inevitable tensions of starting anew are settling, the prospect of a further amalgamation for busy personnel in some hospital institution miles from Coleraine boggles the mind.

Plans fly in as wisdom flies out. In the vernacular of Northern Ireland, the message to the health service planners must be: "Catch yourselves on."

The message to the people of north Antrim and the Coleraine Triangle must be to urge that they be ready for mass demonstrations to preserve a local hospital service conceived, created and developed by the generations which preceded and which was handed on to us in trust.

JOHN ROBB FRCS, FRCS(I), LLD

Portrush, Co Antrim

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