Out-of-hours surgery plans moving ahead

Lisburn Councillors have welcomed news that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust is ready to move ahead with plans for a new GP out-of-hours surgery at Lagan Valley Hospital.

The Trust’s Director of Hospital Services, Mr Seamus McGoran, and Medical Director Charlie Martyn attended a Lisburn City Council Corporate Services Committee meeting this week to report progress on proposals to co-locate the out-of-hours service with the Accident and Emergency department.

Committee chairman, Councillor Pat Catney said: “This is a major step towards the Council’s objective of restoring 24/7 access to Lagan Valley Hospital. I was also pleased to hear recruitment has taken place for Emergency Nurse Practitioners.

“Doctor cover at Lagan Valley Hospital’s A&E is still a concern and the Trust is addressing this through recruitment of an additional Emergency Department Consultant and middle grade doctors. However, we understand from the Trust there is a national shortage of middle grade doctors for A&E Departments.

“It was reported by the Trust that residents are currently achieving better access to the Hospital through direct GP admissions which is encouraging.

“Work on the new Primary Care Centre, to be located at the Lagan Valley Hospital site, is also ongoing.

“Finally it was heartening to hear that the Trust has been in consultation with the Health and Social Care Board about extending the services currently offered at Lagan Valley Hospital.”

Councillor Yvonne Craig said she felt the meeting with the Trust had been very positive, however, she expressed concern about the reliance on locums and suggested a change in shift patterns.

“My concern is that we will become too dependant on locums who shouldn’t provide the cover all the time but just when someone is off. Locums are too costly and don’t provide the consistency of care that is required in an Emergency department.”