DUP MLA Maurice Bradley says he will do all in his power to keep a full-time maternity unit in operation at Causeway Hospital.
His pledge comes as the Trust today (Tuesday) outlined plans for rebuilding services within it’s hospitals.
As part of phase one, which covers the month of June, maternity services will continue to be centred at Antrim, with Causeway having an outpatient service.
In the document, the Trust states that they are currently carrying out an ‘options appraisal which will include all possible options to maintain the service at Causeway’.
They also note that the obstetrics provision at Causeway has been dependant on ‘locums’ who are no longer available due to ‘covid-19 reasons’.
“I have already made my views known on this to the Minister for Health and the Chief Executive of the Trust,” said Bradley.
“It is my view that Causeway cannot get permanent staff because of the inability of the Trust to promote Causeway as sustainable, and with a long-term future.
“Prospective staff need that assurance, that is why so many locum and bank staff are used by the Trust at Causeway.
Bradley added: ” It was always my fear was that once services started disappearing from Causeway that we would have a fight on our hands to get them back again.
“Since the Causeway Trust was subsumed into the Northern Trust there has been a drip-feed of services away from Causeway to Antrim Area Hospital, a hospital located on the outskirt of Belfast, which already has its fair share of healthcare provision.
“The Trust must remember the influx of visitors, second homeowners and students that populate the Causeway Coast and Glens area, not just in the summer months but throughout the year.
“The Causeway Hospital services a huge area, and I think it is unsafe to ask any woman, who may already be in labour, to travel past a hospital, and drive for over an hour to either Antrim or Altnagelvin.
“I fully understand that things are centred on the fight against COVID-19 and for a while services may be moved around, but it is vital that we get a fully functional maternity unit back to Causeway and that the Trust can give the general public a reassurance that our hospital will be fully operation after the pandemic.”