Nigel Dodds commented,
“I am deeply concerned by Friday’s announcement by the Belfast Health Trust that staffing pressures regarding consultants and middle grade staff have resulted in these temporary adjustments to admissions to the Mater Hospital emergency department.
Immediately on hearing this on Friday I spoke to senior representatives of the Trust and then on Saturday morning to Bishop Noel Treanor who is a Trustee.
The Trust said it would be trying this week to put in place measures to lift the temporary diversion, although saying that this ‘wouldn't be easy’. The problem appears to be more junior doctors being left without senior oversight. There is shortage of A and E consultants generally which is causing difficulty.
I welcome that the Trust confirmed that it remains committed to the need for two A&E Departments in Belfast and to 24/7 provision at the Mater which provides a vital service for North Belfast and far beyond.
I will be speaking with the Belfast Trust Chief Executive Michael McBride later today regarding this issue and am seeking an early meeting with the Health Minister.”