Causeway Chronicle

Save Our Services Causeway hold successful rally against loss of services and Maternity at Causeway Hospital

Mixed messages and lack of clear information continues to fuel rumours and speculation over Causeway Hospital – Bradley

CAUSEWAY Hospital’s acute status and the possibility of a part time A&E department, continues to dominate the lack of trust in the Northern Health Trust’s future plans for the hospital site since the launch of the Crompton report over ten years ago.

That is the opinion of MLA Maurice Bradley who with campaign organiser Gemma Brolly, William Taylor of Farmers for Action and Eddie Curtis of the SOS Daisy Hospital, met the Norther Trust on Friday afternoon for frank discussions.

An ‘options paper over ten years ago said: “managers should be planning for a single major centrally located hospital to replace facilities in Coleraine and Antrim. 

“Compton’s preferred option recommended that Causeway and Antrim Area hospitals both close altogether and a new facility built on a site north of Ballymena, providing fairer access for residents of outlying areas. 

The report says this “one site model” is clinically the most sustainable option long term. 

“However, the Northern Trust seized upon that options paper to build up services in Antrim despite the very same options paper highlighting Antrim was not ideally located, to provide services on a fair and equitable manner for patient in out-lying areas.

Causeway area patients are not going to get services patients in other areas are getting and that includes maternity.

“The case for the Causeway was proven in 2000. It’s need has never been greater than it is today, I would encourage people to fight for its future, no longer can services be stripped out of Causeway in order to allow Antrim be be another major hospital on the outskirts of Belfast. We already have The Royal, The Mater, The City, Dundonald and Musgrave, continuing this policy is merely the centralisation of services to the greater Belfast area”, said Bradley.

“Here we are over ten years on, seeking to outwork a report that is now over ten years out of date.

“I have asked for clarity on the status of Causeway Hospital. What services will be transferred from Antrim to relieve the burden there; what are the long-term plans from the Northern Trust for the Causeway Hospital for the next ten, 15 and 25 years?

“From my experience, centralisation of services does not work, it does not create efficiencies, monies potentially saved are usually squandered on high paid administration positions, positions, cannot be done away with without a greater cost. And, unfortunately, people in positions tend to do what they think best, not what is best for the end user. In my opinion, centralisation leads to poor service delivery and poor service quality”.

“Currently, there are 29 maternity beds and 7 delivery beds in Antrim. Closing Causeway Maternity Unit will see an increase in delivery beds in Antrim by six and a further three delivery beds a new total of 35 maternity beds and 10 delivery beds. Does the cost justify the small increase?

If if is for health and safety, have the Test been running a service that was not safe?

“I spoke to mothers who had been in maternity in Causeway. They were clear, the problems in Causeway maternity were not lack of mothers, but lack of staff. This seems to be a recurring theme since Causeway Trust was subsumed into the Northern Trust, and failure to properly staff a hospital is a failure in management.

“Both mothers were quick births and had complications. Had they not have been able to avail of maternity services in Causeway, eight child would have survived a trip to Antrim.

We also seen ambulance stacking at Causeway and Antrim. Waits of ambulances can in some instances take uo to two hours, add on extra travellng time and the “golden hour” for treatment is lost.

“Pediatrics is the next service that is expected to come under threat from the Northern Trust. A leaked memo to both myself and another MLA suggested pediatrics was to have been part of the so-called maternity consultation, but had been removed in the meantime until maternity has been settled first.

“Therefore I challenge the Northern Trust to be honest with us as a campaign group; be honest with the public; and be honest with staff. Tell us your long term plans for Causeway, because building up services at a hospital that has been identified as being in the wrong location (Antrim) is a pathway to failure,” concluded Bradley

Campaign organiser Gemma Brolly, and campaign committee member Adele Tomb with a box of thank-you letters to deliver to Causeway Hospital Maternity Unit staff prior to Saturday’s rally.

Eddie Curtis, Daisy Hill Campaign Group; William Taylor, Farmers for Action; Gemma Brolly, Campaign organiser and Maurice Bradley MlA, who met the Northern Trust at their Antrim headquarters on Friday afternoon

Eddie Curtis, Daisy Hill Campaign Group, addresses the rally at Coleraine Town Hall.

Former Coleraine Borough Councillor Eamon Mullan, supporting the SOS Causeway Campaign.

Local Coleraine Councillor Russell Watton at the SOS Causeway Rally with Susan McNaull.

SOS Causeway Campaign organiser Gemma Brolly address the rally.

MLA Maurice Bradley with grand-daughter Robyn, born at Causeway Hospital Maternity Unit.

Supporting the campaign, Heather Lamont and Angela Knott.a

Supporting the SOS Causeway Campaign are Eddie Curtis, SOS Daisy Hospital Campaign committee; Gregory Campbell MP, Adele Tomb, SOS Causeway Committee; Maurice Bradley MLA, Councillor John Wisner and Angela Knott.

Supporting the SOS Causeway Campaign are Eddie Curtis, SOS Daisy Hospital Campaign committee; Gregory Campbell MP, Adele Tomb, SOS Causeway Committee; and Angela Knott.

Campaign organiser Gemma Brolly, and campaign committee member Adele Tomb with a box of thank-you letters to deliver to Causeway Hospital Maternity Unit staff prior to Saturday’s rally.

Local Coleraine Councillor John Wisner who has been supporting the SOS Causeway Campaign.

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle