Lagan Valley MPJeffrey Donaldson has said he hopes the Health Minister will make an announcement over the future of the casualty department at Lagan Valley Hospital and the local Health Centre when he visits the area in the coming weeks.
Mr Donaldson has invited the Minister, Simon Hamilton, to Lagan Valley Hospital where the MP plans to discuss the matters with him.
The South Eastern Trust went ahead with the Minor Injuries Unit in North Down/Ards but postponed the establishment of a similar unit in Lisburn. Mr Donaldson said he was anxious things had not progressed quickly enough.
In a statement the South East Trust said, “The Trust continues to work towards the development of the Minor Injuries Unit at the LVH site, however, progress has been hindered by not yet achieving the level of appropriately trained staff necessary to commence the service, along with the previously reported issues with the overall HSC financial position.
“While there are a number of staff being trained to deliver the service, they will need six months post completion of study to achieve the competencies necessary to fulfil their roles. We do, see the establishment of the MIU as a key development in the profile of future services for Lagan Valley Hospital.”
Mr Donaldson said, “It is evident they have not yet recruited adequate training staff to reopen the casualty department on a 24 hour basis. It is vital the Trust presses ahead now with training of staff so that the unit can be open later this year.
“Initially the unit was to be open last spring. That should have given the Trust ample time to recruit and train staff. We need to know why this is not happening.”
He continued, “I hope it would bring some momentum towards the estalishment of the reopening of the proper casualty service at the hospital.”
He said he would also like the Minister to look at why there was also a delay in the new health centre. Work was to the site was to start last year so the centre would open in 2017.
Mr Donaldson said, “It’s integration on the Lagan Valley site is a vital component to the delivery of a modernised health care service for the people of Lisburn. The project I have been told is still at planning stage.”.
He was told by the Trust they had to wait confirmation to progress to Preferred Bidder stage but that the Trust remained in regular contact with GPs from Lisburn Health Centre regarding the matter.
The Department of Health spokesperson said, “The Minister is still considering the Preferred Bidder Appointments.”