The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Trust, Mr Hugh McCaughey, has said the report by Sir Liam Donaldson, in which he recommends reducing the number of hospitals in Northern Ireland, was not unexpected.
Last week MP Jeffrey Donaldson and MLA Edwin Poots gave assurances that the report would have minimal impact on the future of the Lagan Valley Hospital.
Mr McCaughey also said the Trust was continuing to work hard to secure the long term viability of the Lisburn hospital.
“The recommendations contained in Sir Liam Donaldson’s report highlighting the need to reduce the number of acute hospitals in Northern Ireland is no surprise to the Trust,” said Mr McCaughey.
“The Trust has implemented significant changes within our local hospitals in Lisburn and Downpatrick over recent years to ensure safe and sustainable services can be delivered to the people we serve. This has included the transfer of obstetric services, which were replaced by midwife led units, the transfer of inpatient surgery and changes to our emergency departments.
“These changes have been made on the basis that where we can’t offer the local population services that meet safe standards we will change them.
“At times this has been opposed by many people, but we feel it is our duty to ensure we don’t continue to provide services that no longer meet safe and accepted standards, or as Sir Liam says. “..that are sub optimal..” In parallel with changes to inpatient acute services, we have enhanced our outpatient, diagnostic and treatment services at both sites. The current model of acute care in Northern Ireland is becoming under extreme pressure and the Trust has been highlighting this for a number of years.
“Change is inevitable and the Trust will continue to work with the Health and Social Care Board and local political representatives to ensure that the Health needs of the Lisburn population are best served.”