Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I am deeply concerned that measures have not been put in place by the Minister to address the impact of the winter flu bug and prevent the closure of the Ulster Hospital A&E department to some admissions.
“The Minister has known about the massive problems the winter flu bug can present for some time, given that all non-urgent elective surgery at the Causeway and Antrim Hospital had to be cancelled earlier this month for the same reason.
“The failure to ensure that A&E could be kept open at the Ulster Hospital will undoubtedly put people at risk, and older people will be the group most affected. Why could short term measures not have been implemented several weeks ago to provide more overtime for staff to address the problem?
“Time is of the essence in treating patients. My constituents in the Ards peninsula now face confusion on where to go, and a much longer journey to get the treatment they need. This is totally unacceptable and I will keep pushing the Minister until he acts strongly to address this issue.”