Magherafelt A+E department closing early

The A+E department at the mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt normally remians open until 11pm; it has however, been forced to start closing at 5pm. The Northern Trust says that this is a short term problem due to staffing issues. The SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has expressed outrage and demanded a meeting with the Health minister.The reality is that Trusts find staffing smaller hospitals very difficult; this is a UK wide problem. As I have frequently argued on this site the solution is for McGimpsey and the Department of Health to start to take this problem seriously and discuss honestly with the population and politicians the facts and the need to rationlaise services (which will result in improvements). What currently passes for a Department strategy: that of ignoring the problem and then letting the Trusts’ make changes and take the blame is utterly flawed. As Mr. McGlone correctly points out Antrim Area must now cope with a large increase in A+E attendances. An organised solution of course would have been to scale up provision at Antrim whilst scaling it down at Magherafelt. Of course that would require leadership from McGimpsey et al. and might well result in the public complaining. Best not to make difficult but long term decisions: they might be unpopular.

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