The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Mr Hugh McCaughey, has reiterated his commitment to the long term future of the Lagan Valley Hospital.
In a letter to MP Jeffrey Donaldson, Mr McCaughey said the Trust “remains committed to providing a high quality Urgent Care Service for Lisburn.”
Mr Donaldson had expressed concern that the new Minor Injuries Unit for the Lagan Valley Hospital, which had been due to open last year, had yet to move forward.
Writing to the Chief Executive, Mr Donaldson said: “I do believe it is important for the Trust to make a clear and unambiguous statement of intent with regard to the establishment of the Minor Injuries Unit at the Lagan Valley Hospital and perhaps indicate a timetable within which it is hoped this will be achieved.”
Mr McCaughey said the Trust was still very committed to the opening of a new Minor Injuries Unit but that financial constraints and staffing issues were resulting in the unexpected delay.
“The development of a Minor Injuries service on the Lagan Valley site was part of the overall development of an urgent care model for the Lisburn area, to work in conjunction with the limited opening Emergency Department and the General Practitioner Out of Hours Service,” Mr McCaughey assured the Lagan Valley MP.
He revealed that, despite the reduced hours, the Emergency Department still deals with 89% of patients who would have previously attended the 24/7 A&E. “It is also the case that the GP Out of Hours Service, since the emergency department reduced its hours, has seen an increase in its attendances,” he continued.
“I want to assure you that the Trust remains committed to providing a high quality Urgent Care Service for Lisburn, and a Minor Injuries Service is still seen as a priority within that model of care. In that sense our ‘absolute commitment’ has not changed.
“Unfortunately, however, the timing of such a development is now subject to financial contingences being delivered, as is the case for all Trusts in Northern Ireland.
“We will continued to represent our commitment to the Minor Injuries Unit to the HSC Board and DHSSPSNI in our discussions regarding the future needs of our local population.”