East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has raised concerns over the relocation of specialist services from Larne’s Moyle Hospital.
The Ulster Unionist representative said there seemed to be a “continual loss” of local services from the local site, resulting in many patients having to travel further.
He added: “The Health Minister’s flagship policy, Transforming Your Care was supposed to be about providing more appropriate services locally. However, in the case of the Moyle Hospital, a number of outpatient services have been reduced and instead, patients are having travel further.”
Mr Beggs asked the Minister to detail the outpatient specialities for which consultations are currently held at Moyle Hospital, and the reasons why any specialities have ceased.
The Minister responded that four consultant-led services have been relocated from the Moyle site since 2011.
Earlier this year, the dermatology clinic was relocated to Antrim, and the Minister has now confirmed that the move is permanent.
He also advised that respiratory services were being covered by a locum consultant and that the job planning for the locum had been temporarily located to Whiteabbey.
Meanwhile, ultrasound scans during pregnancy have been temporarily switched to Antrim, due to a fault with equipment.
General medicine has been “reconfigured” and this service is now no longer provided at Moyle.
Mr Beggs said: “The movement of four specialist services from the Moyle Hospital is of concern; I will be pressing for renewal of equipment so that ultrasound scans can return locally.
“I will continue to lobby the Minister against the relocation of services from Moyle which can be provided locally.”
Mr Beggs has also expressed concern at the potential loss of services as a result of the recent closures of services at Dalriada and Whiteabbey hospitals, which the Northern Trust claim are temporary.
“There is a real danger of these ‘temporary’ loss of services becoming permanent and accessibility to health care becoming more difficult,” Mr Beggs concluded.