by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
LISBURN'S Deputy Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading, has said he is "alarmed" at proposals to drastically cut the number of beds in the Neurology Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital - the unit where he was treated after being diagnosed with a brain tumour six years ago, "Having been treated in this unit for a brain tumour in 2004, I recognise first-hand the essential service provided by the regional neurological service — not just for the Greater Belfast area, but Northern Ireland as a whole," said Mr. Heading.
This is a unique unit, it currently provides a vital frontline facility for those who suffer from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, strokes, motor neuron disease and epilepsy."
He went on to explain: The treatment I received at the unit was 100% but
if there had been no bed for me there would have been no treatment and I
would have had to go onto a waiting list.
"If anyone is told they have a brain tumour but will have to wait for treatment, the anxiety and stress that will cause will add to their health problems.
"I was lucky because there was a bed available for me in the unit but if I had to wait for treatment I have no idea what the consequences of that may have been.
"I was one of the lucky ones because I was able to be treated quickly.
"To reduce the number of beds in the unit by 35% puts a bigger strain on resources and the staff and will delay operations," he continued.
"This reduction in beds will cause potentially life-threatening delays in diagnosis and treatment, particularly for those who are already waiting for specialist treatment and who's waiting times will be prolonged by these deeply regressive cuts," he concluded