North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey has spoken following the announcement that those expecting babies, will temporarily no longer be able to give birth at Causeway Hospital.
Instead expectant mothers will have to go to Antrim Area hospital.
Mr Storey issued the following statement:
‘‘This announcement underlines the seriousness of the Covid-19 threat and far-reaching impact it will have not only those directly dealing with the virus but on other frontline an those in our communities who rely on them. I recognise that this is a decision the Minister will have taken in challenging and difficult circumstances on the basis of the best available evidence.
“At this time of significant change in services the safety of mother and child is of paramount importance. These interim measures should be communicated early, clearly and compassionately as we move forward.
“There are approximately 1500 obstetric deliveries per annum at Causeway – with an upward trend. Behind each of these births are expectant mothers, children and concerned loved ones whose access to a high quality of care should be maintained at this time.
“The Minister will be aware that the review and consultation on a future model for acute paediatric services in Northern Trust hospitals in 2018 did not present factors that would prevent Causeway continuing to play an active role in paediatric care. Therefore whilst our foremost priority should be making the best use of the health and social care estate and acute hospital provision to protect the NHS and save as many lives as possible in the face of Covid-19 it is important to stress that this temporary arrangement should be reviewed regularly. It cannot be a long-term solution.’’