Concerns have been raised following the announcement that an outpatient service is to be removed from Moyle Hospital in Larne.
Staff at the hospital were advised last Thursday that two of the clinical outpatient sessions would no longer be held at the local facility.
The Northern Health and Social Care Trust said the move was due to a vacancy becoming available elsewhere.
The Larne Times understands that the affected clinics specialise in rheumatology, and the service will be relocated to Antrim Area Hospital.
A trust spokeswoman downplayed the decision and said it should “in no way be seen as an attempt to reduce services on the Moyle site”.
“This is as a result of normal operational changes which often occur within outpatient services,” she added.
However, local councillors have expressed fears that the move could signal the beginning of the end for the outpatient department at the Moyle.
Health sub-committee chair Cllr Martin Wilson said: “There are concerns this is just the first step towards removing outpatient services from the Moyle completely.
“The council has passed a motion to write to the chief executive of the Trust and the Health Minister, stating we are not happy with the decision.
“Relocating these clinics to Antrim means local patients will have further to travel, which many people will find difficult.
“It should be the other way around; according to Transforming Your Care, services should be closer to the community.”
The Trust confirmed the specialities of ENT, surgery, ante-natal, orthoptics, ophthalmology, respiratory, ICATS dermatology, diabetes, gynaecology and other services will continue to be delivered at Moyle outpatient department.