There is a sense of crisis across the Health Service in Northern Ireland. In the last few weeks the Belfast Trust has announced plans to close 152 beds at the City Hospital and Royal Group of Hospitals from November. The Northern Trust has halted more complex surgery at the Mid-Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt and Whiteabbey Hospital in Newtownabbey. All such surgery will now be concentrated at the Antrim and Causeway Hospitals. Parking charges are to be introduced at the Antrim and Causeway sites. There is a clear threat to the future of Accident and Emergency services at the Mid-Ulster and Whiteabbey.
By Ciaran Mulholland, AMICUS (Unite) Health Services Branch (personal capacity)