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Patients feel the real cost of hospital cuts

Further to your paper's news on the closure of accommodation for patients with cystic fibrosis by the Belfast Trust (News, December 14), I can inform your readers that this is but the latest of many cuts in the last year or two.

Medical and nursing staffs have been increasingly concerned and angered by the dictatorial and confrontational attitude of Trust management.

Bed numbers have been cut (using the weasel word 'reconfiguration'), thus increasing and delaying waiting times for patients, reducing the ability to run theatre lists efficiently and allowing the care of vulnerable patients in areas inappropriate to their needs.

Specialist nurses have not been replaced and, more recently, some of these have been asked to undertake other duties, thus wasting their expertise.

Specialised consultants have not been replaced due to management's failure to plan ahead, or adequately staff these specialities - resulting in the recent loss of a gastroenterologist to Scotland.

It seems that management has not grasped the essential truth that the Children's Hospital's most valuable resource it its staff, who are trying to maintain the services that they have developed laboriously over many years.

By not listening to their sensible and patient-centred concerns and collaborating constructively with the clinical staff, these vandals are destroying the hospital.

By these foolish actions the benefits of such a service are being lost and will only compromise care to one of the most vulnerable groups in the province - sick children.

CONCERNED PROFESSIONAL

Belfast

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