“I warmly welcome the commitment to review the provision of ambulance services in Down District. A 53-minute response time to a serious medical incident is simply unacceptable.
“The ill-considered decision by the Health Minister Edwin Poots to shut night time and weekend Emergency Department services at The Downe Hopsital and Lagan Valley Hospital, on top of the withdrawal of emergency services at Belfast City Hospital, has placed an unwelcome burden upon the ambulance service and remaining Emergency Departments. It is imperative the ambulance service in all areas is adequately resourced and I trust this review will provide for that.
“However, even with adequate resourcing, an enhanced ambulance service in itself cannot and will not replace a fully functioning Emergency Department at The Downe. I once again call upon the DUP Health Minister to prioritise the reinstatement of 24/7 Emergency Department services at The Downe and ensure the adequate spatial distribution of such emergency services across Northern Ireland.”