Local MLA David Ford said: “When the government decided to centralise acute hospital service at Antrim and Coleraine, there was a clear understanding that support services would continue to be provided locally across the northern area.
“While it may be impossible to provide leading-edge treatment in every district, many hospital beds are needed for convalescence, for palliative care and for a variety of remedial treatments.
“Contact with friends and family is an essential part of this rehabilitation. This contact will be greatly reduced if people have to travel up to 25 miles to Antrim. Such travel may be necessary for a short time while the patient needs the services in Antrim, but is utterly unreasonable in the longer term.
“I do not believe that the Northern Board and Trust should be contemplating any closure of facilities such as Inver House in Larne or the Braid Valley Hospital in Ballymena when the services those units provide are not available in any alternative facility locally.
“Patients in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey will suffer if there is any reduction in the services provided by these smaller but vitally important units.
“In order to meet the needs of patients across the northern area we actually need an enhancement of these community facilities, not closure. I am writing to the Minister for Health to express my concerns and urge him to demand adequate funding from the Finance Minister to meet the needs of local people.”