UKIP’s Lagan Valley candidate in May’s Assembly elections, Brian Higginson, has called for the health minister to suspend the South Eastern Health Trust and replace it with a commissioner.
Mr Higginson wants the commisioner to take over the Trust’s functions and to supervise the reopening of 24-hour Accident and Emergency cover at Lagan Valley Hospital.
He said: “Today I had the pleasure of showing the Lagan Valley Hospital to our national deputy leader, Nigel Farage’s deputy, Paul Nuttall MEP.
“The fault lies, not with the minister, but with the South Eastern Health Trust.
“If they cannot manage their affairs better, then they should be stripped of their functions by the minister and replaced by a commissioner who could get 24-hour, seven days a week emergency cover reinstated in the Lagan Valley Hospital.”
“The only two accident and emergency departments closed in the evenings and at weekends are in Lisburn and Downpatrick, both managed by the South Eastern Health Trust.
“Everywhere else in Northern Ireland, they are open 24/7. “
“The mismanagement of health by a bunch of quangocrats must come to an end. They are an expensive luxury,” claimed Mr. Higginson.
Mr Nuttall added: “I am appalled that 24-hour, seven days a week, accident and emergency cover had been withdrawn in the middle of a city of 120,000 people, Northern Ireland’s largest city after Belfast.
“This decision is not reasonable.
“I am glad Brian Higginson has raised this issue, putting the blame for this error on the local health trust.”