Causeway Chronicle

£1m upgrade investment in Causeway welcome, but more needs to done to guarantee services on site – Bradley

An announcement of £1 million investment to upgrade equipment at Causeway Hospital has been approved by the Board of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust is welcome says Maurice Bradley MLA, but much more is needed to guarantee services at the Coleraine Hospital.

This investment will finance the replacement of ageing CT equipment at Causeway with modern, fit-for-purpose scanners which will support the Emergency Department and provide 24/7 access to CT scanning. That is to be welcomed that out of date equipment is to be replaced. However, we need to drill down to the nuts and bolts of what services have been lost from Causeway, and what services will be sited there to replace those services removed.

“Both myself and Gemma Brolly, Chairperson of the SOS Causeway Group, met the Northern Trust via Zoom last week, the meeting was less than what was expected as the Trust simply refused to engage and treated our questions as a statement, without answering any points raised outside their own pre-prepared presentation.

Bradley said: “The Northern Trust have a massive job going forward building up confidence locally in their ability to ensure services remain and are enhanced at Causeway.

“When I met with the Trust today (Monday) as part of a DUP Group, I had asked for information on the use on agency staff at Causeway. I also asked had they (The Northern Trust) any discussions with Ulster University to locate a nursing degree, previously available at the Coleraine Campus, to run in tandem with the excellent nurses degree at Magee.

“Such forward thinking would help combat the acute nursing shortage all over Northern Ireland.

“I have also asked on previous occasions and again this morning, what services are the Trust planning to relocate to Causeway to replace the services like maternity that have been lost. And what are the Trust’s detailed investment plans for the Causeway over the next five to ten years and beyond.

“The Northern Trust are fixated on a perceived “aging population” in Causeway Coast and Glens. Does this mean people are living longer in the Causeway Coast area, bt not anywhere else in Northern Ireland. Are there statistics genuine, or inflated by the influx of holiday makers and second home owners across the Causeway Council area, Is some one over 70 who visits the Causeway a static in Causeway, but not where the originally live.

“It’s amazing that the population appears to be living longer on our beautiful North Coast, but not eleswhere!

“I often hear the road from Coleraine to Belfast has greatly improved and it is easier to get to Antrim and Belfast. People seem to forget, road improvements loo make it easier to get from Belfast and Antrim to Coleraine, roads are not built to go only one way,.

PROPER FINANCIAL PACKAGE FOR NURSES AND MEDICAL STAFF

“One major issue that needs to be tackled across Northern Ireland is the wages and conditions our nursing and medical staff are working under, our own staff are under-paid, whilst there appears to be an over-reliance on Agency staff at a greatly increased cost. Nurses and medical staff need a financial package that reflects the tremendous work they do and to make the job more attractive so that reliance on Agency staff can be phased out.

There is a long way to go before confidence in the Trust can be normalised, that is down to their style of management. However, it is my opinion that emergency services and other services must remain at Causeway and that Causeway can be given its place as a major centre of medical excellence.

SAVE OUR SERVICES, CAUSEWAY HOSPITAL

On July 15, there will be a Save Our Services Causeway Hospital rally taking place from the Hospital entrance to Coleraine Town Centre. Plan to be there i support. Let the Northern Trust know how important our hospital is to us and how important having Maternity available at Causeway going forward is to the people of this Borough.

Speaking about the investment, Anne O’Reilly, chair of the Northern Trust Board said: “This is a significant investment in local hospital services, and signals the Trust’s commitment to continuing to improve our services for the benefit of our service users, patients, and the wider community. 

“We are all acutely aware of the budget pressures facing the health and social care system at this time, so I am pleased that we have been able to allocate funds to these important projects to enhance and improve our services.” This follows a recent £2 million investment in the hospital’s Emergency Department, and ambulatory services and frailty care.

It is important to note, that the Causeway antenatal unit could at last be utilised as the Trust say preparations are underway to provide enhanced antenatal care and clinics at the Causeway Hospital.

Jennifer Welsh, Chief Executive of the Northern Trust said:  “Causeway Hospital is a key part of our acute hospital network and this investment highlights our commitment to maintaining acute services and an Emergency Department on the site. As well as our maternity hub which will continue to offer high quality antenatal and postnatal care which are critical local services for women, we have plans to enhance these services so that pregnant women will have access to complex antenatal care and clinics.

“We are also now looking at how we can enhance elective surgery at Causeway, having recently invested £2 million in the hospital’s Emergency Department and enhancing ambulatory and frailty care.  We are working closely with colleagues at the Department of Health to explore and plan the further development of diagnostic services at Causeway to support emergency, elective and cancer services.

“We recognise the hospital and its staff play a key role in serving the local community. Causeway Hospital has a very bright future ahead.”

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle