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A LOCAL teenager is so concerned about the future of the Accident and Emergency Department at the Lagan Valley Hospital that he has launched an online petition to keep it open.
When it was announced that the hours at the emergency unit were to be reduced there was concern that this would spell the end of the department, with Health Minister Edwin Poots even admitting that "once something is lost it is difficult to re-instate it."
19-year-old Nathan Dickson, who is a university student in Stirling, was determined that local people would have the opportunity to let politicians and decision-makers know how their felt about the reduced hours and the future of the department before it was too late.
"I was talking to my friends about it on Facebook and Twitter and I wanted to do something," explained Nathan.
"I go to university in Stirling and our A&E has closed there. I can't do anything about that but I wanted to do something for Lisburn.
"Quite a lot of people where I live are single mums who don't drive and it would be hard for them to get to Belfast. You can't plan when you are going to have an accident.
"I want to 'show the politicians that we are not happy. What were they doing during the while decision making process? I personally only found out about it after the decision had been made. I want to know why we weren't informed beforehand.
"I am coming up to the stage in my life when I will be deciding what
I am going to do in the future. I want to come back to Lisburn and raise
a family but having an A&E department is important. What if something
happens to your children overnight? I wouldn't want to raise my family
somewhere that didn't have an A&E. We need this service," he added.
The online petition can be accessed at http://lisburnae.epetitions.net/
HUNDREDS of people have signed up to a new Facebook group campaigning to keep the Accident and Emergency department at the Lagan Valley Hospital open 24 hours a day. The group, which was started by former Lisburn Councillor David Archer, has been set up to give local people a voice over the reduced opening hours at the A&E unit and they are certainly making their voices heard. People in the group are expressing anger and outrage over the decision by the South Eastern Trust to limit the opening hours with many heated discussions taking place since the group was established on Tuesday.
The group - 'Keep Lagan Valley Hospital's A&E Open 24/7' - can be found online at www.facebook.com.
THE Lagan Valley branch of the Green Party has expressed concern about the 'worrying trend of cuts' which are impacting on acute health care throughout Northern Ireland, as well as the impact of the reduction in opening hours at the Lagan Valley Hospital A&E department.
The Party have also welcomed efforts that are being made "from across the community and political spectrum in support of 24 hour A&E provision at Lagan Valley Hospital."
Chairperson Conor Quinn said: "It is vital that the cross-party efforts on Lisburn City Council are maintained to ensure that the reduced hours A&E provision at Lagan Valley is only temporary.
"The Green Party will continue to fight for the protection of local services, in particular emergency health care."
Lagan Valley Hospital Accident and Emergency Department
HERE are just a few of the comments that concerned residents have posted on an online petition against the reduction in hours at the Lagan Valley Hospital Accident and Emergency Department:
A sign outside the Lagan Valiey Hospital advising people of the new hours