Alliance Councillor Lynn Frazer said: “The Newtownabbey area needs a full 24/7 accident and emergency service at Whiteabbey Hospital to ensure local people do not have to face long ambulance journeys to Antrim or Belfast.
“Its disgraceful that people in the Newtownabbey area will have longer journey times to go to an accident and emergency department, as ambulances will only take people to Antrim or Belfast, not Whiteabbey Hospital.
“The opening hours of the Whiteabbey A&E unit has been cut to 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and people can only use the department if they get themselves there. Whiteabbey will no longer take patients brought by ambulance.
“I find this a strange and unacceptable decision, as it puts local people at risk.
“The time factor is an extremely important issue. There are two elements which will increase the time it takes to get local people to hospital. The first is that ambulances will have to travel a longer distance to collect the person needing treatment, as no ambulances are based at Whiteabbey hospital anymore. Secondly, the ambulance will have a longer distance to travel back to hospital when it has collected a local person, as it will have to travel to Antrim or Belfast instead of Whiteabbey.”
“I met with health board officials to outline my concerns and I will continue to campaign to ensure that the people of Newtownabbey get the best healthcare service possible.”