Trevor Lunn said: “The issue of the future of Lagan Valley Hospital and specific units in the hospital has been going on since the 1980s, so I am glad that the Health Minister has made this commitment to continue the maternity unit.
“This news will be a big boost to the staff at the hospital who have undoubtedly been under stress due to the uncertainty over the future of some of the units.
“The birth rate in the area does appear to be on an upward curve so it would have been a disaster if this unit was to close even if it was just for a year before a midwife led unit is set up. The other maternity units in the surrounding areas appear to be operating at capacity so I do not think they would have been able to cope if this unit closed down whether permanently or temporarily. The Health Minister has now said that he will increase the capacity in the surrounding units to the take up the slack which I also welcome.”