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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

“We are following the recommendation of senior clinicians” - NHSCT on births move to Antrim

Maternity Department sign

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) has issued a statement on Friday afternoon (14 July) after meeting with representatives of the SOS Causeway Hospital Campaign.

The group was formed in recent months after the NHSCT announced a consultation on the future of maternity services across the Trust area.

Following the conclusion of the consultation, it was confirmed by the Department of Health that new births would move from Causeway Hospital, Coleraine to Antrim Area Hospital beginning on 17 July 2023.

It is understood the Trust have plans to build a new dedicated multi-million pound maternity facility at Antrim Area.

A spokesperson for the NHSCT said:

"We welcomed the opportunity to meet today with members of the SOS Causeway Hospital Campaign to provide assurances around the future of Causeway Hospital.

"By reconfiguring our maternity services – consolidating all hospital births at Antrim Area Hospital – we are following the recommendation of senior clinicians. When they advise us that this is in the best interests of mothers and babies, we have a responsibility to listen.

"This decision does not mean we wish to downgrade Causeway Hospital and it in no way signals its closure. We want that message to be very clear for our community, our service users and patients, and also our staff.

"Causeway Hospital has a very bright future ahead, demonstrated by our continued investment in services there.

"As we have previously stated, we remain committed to maintaining acute services and an Emergency Department at Causeway. We are also working closely with colleagues at the Department of Health to explore and plan the further development of diagnostic services to support emergency, elective and cancer services.

"As a Trust providing health and social care services in our community, it is important that we best serve the changing demographic of the area’s population which is why we have made significant investment in enhancing our ambulatory and frailty care services at Causeway Hospital.

"Following the transfer of hospital births to Antrim Area Hospital, preparations are also underway to provide enhanced antenatal clinics at Causeway Hospital so that pregnant women will have access to complex antenatal care. This means that some women will no longer have to travel to Antrim for antenatal appointments.

"We also want to assure pregnant women that we will continue to support home births.

"In addition, Causeway has adopted the Continuity of Midwifery Care model which has been in place since 2020. This provides a woman with care from the same midwife or team of midwives during pregnancy, birth and the early parenting period, as well as obstetric and other specialist care as needed.

"We acknowledge the very passionate campaign by SOS Causeway. We trust that today’s meeting has provided reassurance that we do in fact share the same goal. We too are passionate about the future of Causeway Hospital and today we restated our commitment to it remaining a key part of our acute hospital network.

"We hope that today’s meeting has provided clarity around some of the concerns expressed by the campaign group, and has helped to address some of the rumours and speculation which are detrimental to the hospital and unhelpful as we seek to attract and retain staff which is key to the stability of services."


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