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Mater Hospital’s A&E unit here to stay

The Mater Hospital will be retaining its accident and emergency department, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has said.

Responding to a question on the future of the Mater, Mr 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 after South Eastern Trust bosses reported difficulties in attracting doctors.

However, at Stormont on Monday, Mr McGimpsey said: “That hospital has a very important role to play in the delivery of hospital services in Belfast. I see it very much as an extension of the Royal and City Hospital complex within Belfast and as a regional centre for ophthalmology and for a number of other services.”

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.

Belfast Telegraph