The Minor Injuries Unit at Whiteabbey Hospital is to be closed temporarily, the Northern Health Trust has confirmed.
Budget cuts mean the Trust has been forced to make savings of £6.9million for the remaining part of 2014/15.
As part of a programme of cost-saving measures, officials have confirmed that the local Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) will close from December 1.
“Whiteabbey Minor Injuries Unit currently provides a service to approximately 40 patients per day from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. It will close temporarily, from December 1, allowing the staff to be redeployed to support emergency and urgent care at Antrim Area Hospital,” a spokesperson for the Trust said.
“Overall our approach is designed to secure financial balance while delivering a safe service model.”
The Whiteabbey MIU opened in the wake of the Trust axing full Accident and Emergency services at the hospital in 2010.
There is no indication of when it will reopen.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said that he will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of the Northern Trust to discuss the closure decision, which he described as “a bolt from the blue.”
“I will be pressing for a commitment that the Minor Injuries Unit will be reopened as soon as possible in the new financial year and will be making clear in the strongest possible terms that the health services provided at Whiteabbey are vital for patients from Newtownabbey and further afield,” he commented.
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