'Shame' call as axe falls on Belfast A-amp;E
Remember the closing of this department when next you go to vote. It is an unmitigated mistake.
As someone who has several relatives working in the medical profession, I can assure you that, from a clinical perspective, this rationalisation of services is first and foremost about improving the service provided by the NHS. What we have at the minute is a health service spread thin across far too many hospitals. As a result, often when people are admitted to hospital, they can subsequently find themselves having to be transferred to the Royal or the Ulster, as there are both insufficient numbers of skilled staff and inadequate equipment at the smaller hospitals to treat them properly.
At the end of the day, it all appears to be about cutting costs.
The logical outcome of this argument would be to build one mega-hospital out in the middle of Lough Neagh with all the specialities represented. A thousand beds, perhaps. All the staff you need concentrated in one spot and let the patients come as they will. Rail and road links from north, south east and west. Clearly, such a hospital could provide the greatest opportunity for staff to further their careers - certainly the highest priority when considering all the positive outcomes of healthcare provision.
Has there been any announcement about plans to enhance the Royal A-amp;E to cope with the 40,000 extra visits it will get in 2012? I agree that having the two main A-amp;E units so close to each other is beyond daft and must be wasteful, but I have had the misfortune to accompany family members to the Royal a few times lately and it is no exaggeration to say I thought it was utter carnage on both occasions.
Big Chief Ally
It's probably a wise and well thought-through decision to close it. Time will tell. What is disgraceful is the way the media, especially the BBC, has breathlessly hyped it up as a bad thing. Rabble-rousing at its worst.