Public discussion about maternity services was held at Causeway Hospital

Stock image of a baby dozing on a mother's chest

The future of the maternity services at Causeway Hospital has been the subject of a public meeting in Portrush.

The Northern Trust organized the event while conducting a public consultation on its options.

Causeway Hospital and Antrim Area Hospital are currently receiving too many resources, according to the trust.

The situation was "fragile and vulnerable," according to Dr. David Morgan, who also stated that "change is urgently needed.".

The meeting on Wednesday night drew fewer than twenty attendees from the general public.

On the subject of the future of services, they were given several choices.

Baby sleeping on mother's chest - stock photo
According to The Northern, birth rates have decreased year over year in the Causeway Coast and Glens region.

One suggestion is to keep Causeway Hospital's antenatal and postnatal clinics while transferring all births to Antrim Area Hospital.

The other involves creating a free-standing unit at Causeway for low-intervention midwifery care and moving consultant-led births to Antrim Area Hospital.

According to The Northern Trust, there have been fewer births in the Causeway Coast and Glens region each year.

Within the next 20 years, the area's birth rates are predicted to decline by 11%.

According to the trust, clinicians are very concerned about the need to maintain their expertise in difficult cases and the exposure of staff to emergencies.

Additionally, it has brought attention to the challenges Causeway has had hiring consultants.

The Northern Trust wants to build a new Women and Children's Unit on the Antrim site for $150 million.

At the meeting on Wednesday, a retired nurse who was in attendance spoke out against the ideas.

Is there a solid justification why a new construction can't be done in Causeway, which is located halfway between Belfast and Derry?

It would make a lot more sense to her, she said, than to ask young, expectant women to travel 40 miles to Antrim for labor.

People do believe that Causeway Hospital has been gradually but steadily losing services, according to Gemma Brolly of the political party Aont.

The Northern Trust's chief executive, Jennifer Welsh, stated that she was "very clear of a vibrant future for Causeway" and that the hospital would not be closing.

The public comment period ends on March 3.

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