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Lagan Valley public consultation closes

Public consultation on the future of the urgent and emergency care services at Lagan Valley hospital will come to an end this week.

The South Eastern (SE) Health and Social Care Trust has also temporarily closed down the midwife led maternity unit in order to carry out its own review of the service following concerns raised over a number of births at the hospital.

The Trust is engaging with the families of those concerned with patient safety central to the review.

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The eight week public consultation into urgent and emergency care began in February and will come to a close on Friday April 22 with the trust serving a resident population of almost 355k across a number of council districts.

Opening hours of the emergency department or the ‘urgent care centre’ were temporarily reduced in October 2021 by two hours a day to 8am -6pm Monday to Friday in response to extreme workforce challenges due to insufficient medical staffing.

The emergency facility is closed at the weekend.

SE trust chief executive, Roisin Coulter outlined the health strategy in a statement engaging the public consultation process, as the trust with an annual budget of £850m looks set to generate a wave of change at Lagan Valley.

“The South Eastern trust has had to make an immediate and temporary change to our emergency services in Lagan Valley hospital, Lisburn,” said Ms Coulter.

“We are faced with significant challenges within our emergency medical service in relation to the availability of sufficient medical staff and the ability to maintain the high quality standards of care which we would like for our patients.

“Patient safety remains our number one priority, and therefore we have had no alternative to making this decision.

“Whilst continuing our focus on providing high quality care for patients, the trust needs to consider the best way to be able to provide safe, sustainable and clinically appropriate urgent and emergency care services.

“We believe that the changes made can, and will continue to meet the needs of our community safely, and we are hopeful that they will actually provide a better experience for patients attending the Lagan Valley hospital Emergency Department,” she added.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) will meet with the trust following the end of the public consultation on Monday April 25.

LCCC members have developed a corporate response to the consultation.

However, the details of the meeting will be held in confidential settings and closed to the media and the public.

A future meeting will be then arranged with the LCCC health working group and the trust in June, when the outcome of the public consultation is expected to be shared.

Members of the public can still take part in the consultation via the SE trust’s online questionnaire, in writing, by email or telephone.

READ MORE: Lagan Valley Hospital ‘Phone First’ system hailed as a great success