Closure of Belfast City A&E an “act of social vandalism which will cost lives”

Today’s decision of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Board to close the accident and emergency unit at Belfast City Hospital has been condemned by campaigners and labelled an “act of social vandalism which will cost lives”.

Stop the Cuts Campaign spokesperson Patrick Mulholland spoke to the Board ahead of their decision and attacked them for “refusing to allow any consultation to enable the public, health staff, campaign groups and unions to register their opposition to the closure”.

“The argument that A&E at the City Hospital should be closed on the grounds of safety does not add up. When I challenged the Board to guarantee that lives won’t be lost as a result of the closure, none of the members could.

“The low levels of staffing at the City Hospital is an excuse being used by the Board to shut it down. The staffing crisis is a direct result of a recruitment freeze introduced by the previous Health Minister Michael McGimpsey which is now being maintained by the current Minister Edwin Poots.

“It has been well-known for a considerable period that plans were being hatched to close A&E units in Northern Ireland. The argument that doctors cannot be recruited to provide a safe service is a smokescreen. The Assembly Executive is making huge cuts to our health service – this is the real cause of the closure of City Hospital A&E.

“It was particularly shameful spectacle to witness Belfast City Cllr Tom Hartley vote in favour of the closure at the meeting. The people of the greater Belfast area are overwhelmingly opposed to the closure of A&E services. This closure will lead to impossible demand on the remaining A&E at the Royal and the Mater, affecting hundreds of thousands of patients.”

The Stop the Cuts Campaign will be protesting outside Stormont at 1pm on Monday 12th September the first day the Assembly will be meeting after the summer recess to register opposition to the closure.

 

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