Whiteabbey MIU closure could lead to ‘loss of life’ – claim

Whiteabbey Hospital minor injuries unit. INNT 45-120-GR
Whiteabbey Hospital minor injuries unit. INNT 45-120-GR

Proposals to permanently close Whiteabbey Minor Injuries Unit could potentially result in “people losing their lives”, it has been claimed.

Mid and East Antrim councillors have expressed concerns over the Northern Trust’s proposals to shut the unit down.

A report on the issue was presented to members at the latest meeting of the community planning committee, outlining the council’s oppositions to the proposals, which are currently out for consultation.

TUV Cllr Ruth Wilson called for a letter to be sent to Health Minister Simon Hamilton stating: “People this winter could possibly lose their lives over this.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Paul Reid queried an assertion made in the report which stated: “Driving distance from Whiteabbey Hospital to Antrim Area Hospital is 13.3miles and would take an estimated 18 minutes.”

The Coast Road representative claimed: “The reality is that can’t be done.”

He also stated that at a time when, he said, many hospitals are under great pressure “to say Whiteabbey isn’t needed...I find that very strange, indeed.”

Cllr Noel Jordan highlighted the complexity of transport arrangements that people would have to make to attend appointments at other hospitals, while Cllr Tommy Nicholl commented: “We should be asking for an independent assessment of these figures (in the report) and then we can make a decision. To consider closing a minor injuries unit is not right.”

The consultation period closes on Friday, December 4 and further information can be found at www.northerntrust.hscni.net