HEALTHCARE staff at the Mid Ulster Hospital who were told just hours before their shift that their ward has been closed down have spoken of their outrage.

Staff working on Ward Three of the hospital, which had been earmarked for closure on May 25, were called on Tuesday morning and told the ward would be closed from that day.

Tha Mail first revealed last month that two of the hospital’s three wards were due to close. Staff had expressed concerns about job losses when the services moved to the Antrim and Causeway hospital sites, but this latest move is said to have further enraged nurses, doctors, auxiliary and cleaning staff.

It is understood Ward Two is still due to be closed by June 8, leaving just one ward at the Mid Ulster site to deal with inpatient, outpatient and paediatric care as well as minor injuries.

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone said he was disgusted at the latest move.

“For those of us who want to see medical services in the Mid Ulster area will be deeply concerned about this and how this clumsy behaviour of management reflects badly on the Trust,” said Mr McGlone. “From the word go it has been one disaster after the other and I will be raising this matter with the Minister for Health.

“To have this done over the telephone today is a sheer disgrace. It really is shocking management, aside from the fact that there is not enough capacity in Antrim Area Hospital to take on more patients and the ongoing problems in the Accident & Emergency department.

“I will be raising this issue with the Health Minister.”

Mr McGlone added that he had spoken with the Northern Trust’s Chief Executive Sean Donaghy who agreed thar staff should have been notified sooner.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The trust stopped admitting patients on May 9. The numbers of patients reduced more quickly than expected and this morning (Tuesday) we made the decision to amalgamate two wards.

“The Trust has worked closely with staff and trade union side throughout this change process.”