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Teenager launches online 'save our A&E' petition

Nathan DicksonA 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

Facebook Group

Hundreds sign up to Facebook group

David Archer, who set up the group, which now has over 1,000 membersHUNDREDS 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

Green Party expresses concern

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

Lagan Valley Hospital Accident and Emergency Department

Your views on A&E hours

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:

  • Risking lives to save a little money? Surely, there are better places to make cuts than hospitals?
  • Whoever made the decision to go 9/8 with the A&E needs their head read. So now we are to have accident and emergency situations during working hours???? How many lives will this cost??? Too many if you ask me.
  • Everybody in the country is prepared to sacrifice to save the NHS as a whole. However, cutting the hours of this A&E will not work considering its closest neighbour is being closed completely. Too much of a sacrifice makes a big society an angry one.
  • This is ridiculous, doctors became doctors for a reason.
  • What kind of A&E has opening hours?!
  • I work in an A&E department, this is ridiculous
  • Absurd to shut something that may be needed
  • Nonsensical idea to close the A&E down, makes no sense at all
  • People do not plan when to have an accident, so A&E should be ready 24/7!
  • Please keep this open. We have no way to get to Belfast and our lives and those of our elderly community and babies are in danger
  • Keep it open 24 hours. It is essential for all of us in Lisburn. Please!
  • We need our A and E as it has helped my children when they were really ill
  • My son very likely would have died if it had not been for Lagan Valley A&E there is no way we would have made it to Belfast in time.
  • Absolute disgrace
  • Not everyone is able to drive and if it closes there's no buses or trains overnight so are we supposed to suffer till the next morning to get treatment??? Also where kids are concerned what is going to happen?
  • It is ridiculous for a city the size of Lisburn not to have an A&E. RVH is already under pressure without adding all of Lisburn's patients into the mix and I'm sure it will severely increase the number of ambulances being called when not really needed.
  • Lisburn is a city and the third most populated in Northern Ireland. This is just another embarrassment for the residents. A dangerous and life threatening embarrassment.
  • Lisburn is a city. We need or A&E services 24/7. People in country already have to travel a good distance to reach Lagan Valley which is always busy, it is not acceptable to ask them to travel further and no doubt wait for longer. Put your people first.
  • Lagan Valley emergency department should stay open as this will only put more pressure other hospitals. Lisburn need this department open at all times.
  • Waiting times in hospitals are long enough as it is never mind everyone going to the Royal. I can also see an increase in ambulance calls as people wont take the risk driving the longer distance with some accidents and emergencies, who will that benefit?

A sign outside the Lagan Valiey Hospital advising people of the new hours

A sign outside the Lagan Valiey Hospital advising people of the new hours

Ulster Star