Belfast Telegraph

Causeway A&E won't close, according to Trust

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley's claims the A&E department at Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital is to close has been denied by the local health trust The DUP MP said the casualty ward was due to close because of the time restrictions placed on the number of hours staff can work by the European Working Time Directive.

Just last month Mr Paisley’s DUP colleague, Health Minister Edwin Poots, told the Assembly that there were no plans to alter the Causeway’s Acute status.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Health and Social Care trust has told the Coleraine Times it had “no plans, at the moment, to close A&E”.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate last week, Mr Paisley said: “The Causeway Hospital in my constituency faces losing its accident and emergency department, which is the only such facility in one of the most rural parts of Northern Ireland.

“The area has one of the largest inflows of tourists at certain times of the year. Why is the department going to close?

“It is going to close not because it is useless or there is no demand, but because of its over-reliance on locums, which is a direct result of the European Working Time Directive," he said.

“It is a complete disaster for our rural hospitals. It is a complete disaster in terms of sickness leave among doctors.

“The report of the Royal College of Physicians, which was published in April 2010, shows that sickness leave has soared since the European Working Time Directive was introduced.”

On Thursday it emerged that the Health Service is still not meeting its own A&E targets. Only 71% of accident and emergency patients were seen within four hours - short of the 59% target, according to the Times.

Belfast Telegraph


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