FRACTURE Clinic services at the Mater Hospital are to be decreased with concerns expressed for its overall future.

The clinic, which runs on a Tuesday, will be moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital with the Friday fracture clinic also now in serious doubt. There’s anger amongst trade unions who say they were not consulted about the clinic switch.

Eoin Stewart, Branch Secretary of the Mater Hospital Unison branch, says he’s requested a meeting with management.

“I received an email from management to say the fracture clinic on a Tuesday will be removed and transferred to the Royal with the Friday clinic also in line to follow the same path,” he explained. “Management have agreed to meet at the Royal next Thursday but this is about the Mater Hospital – the meeting should take place there. There has been no consultation. Any review is meant to go through the Modernisation Committee of the Belfast Trust and on this occasion did not do so

“We cannot talk about partnership if there isn’t any happening over issues like this,” he added.

People Before Profit's Fiona Ferguson expressed her outrage at the planned closure.

“This decision was taken without consultation with trade unionists, staff or the public, in what we can only presume was a cost-cutting exercise,” she said. “I find it abhorrent that three managers can make such a drastic decision without factoring in the views of staff and patients in the area. Patients have been forced to wait hours at the fracture clinic in the Royal Victoria Hospital. This decision will only detrimentally affect those waiting times. Over the past few days, we've heard a lot from the Health Minister Michelle O'Neill about tackling waiting lists but this decision very clearly paints a very different picture.

“Right across the UK, our NHS is under threat from creeping privatisation, cuts and closures. People Before Profit stand firmly against these moves and will continue to fight back alongside the trade unions to protect our NHS.”

A spokesperson for the Belfast Trust said: “We constantly keep all services under review to ensure safety, effective and equitable levels of care to all our patients. Fracture services is part of these on-going reviews. The Mater Hospital remains an integral part of The Belfast Trust.”