by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
A PUBLIC consultation meeting on plans to restore 24 hour emergency cover at the Lagan Valley Hospital is being held next week.
The meeting, organised by the South Eastern Trust, will be on Thursday February 9 from 6.00pm — 9.30pm in the Recreation Hall at the Lagan Valley and everyone is welcome to attend.
And politicians and patients' bodies have urged everyone in Lisburn to make their voice heard over plans for the hospital.
The South Eastern Trust announced last week that a public consultation will be held to allow local people to share their opinions on proposals to secure twenty four hour opening of the emergency department at the Lisburn hospital.
Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan urged local people to support the plan.
"Successive Health Ministers refused to move away from the 2002 Developing Better Services Document that downgrades the Lagan Valley Emergency Department to a minor injuries unit," said Mr Givan. "At recent meetings it has been made clear to the Department and the Trust this proposal was unacceptable.
'After a huge campaign from local people working with politicians and the Ulster Star the pressure has resulted in these proposals which mark a significant achievement that cannot be understated after years of refusal.
"In meetings I have held with the Health Minister Edwin Poots he has been committed to keeping 24 hour access to the Emergency Department and changing the direction of travel that would have downgraded the Lagan Valley and these proposals will ensure the hospital will have a long term future for the emergency department and local people having this much needed service restored," he added. The Patient and Client Council are also encouraging people throughout the South Eastern area to share their views.
Louise Skelly, from the Council said: "This is an important time for people to have clear information on any proposed plans for changes to Health and Social Care services, including Lagan Valley Hospital. People can share their views with the Patient and Client Council by calling the local office on 0800 917 0222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
A copy of the consultation document is available on the Trust's website
at www.setrust.hscni.net and on the Trust's Facebook page. Comments
should be emailed to
by the closing date, April 18. The preferred option will then be reviewed in light of comments received and the final proposal presented to Trust Board on 30 May. Upon completion of the consultation process the proposal will be re-submitted to the Trust Board for consideration and if approved it will be referred to the Minister for final approval.
Key elements of the preferred option are: