Plan to move hospital births from Causeway Hospital to Antrim Hospital has been accepted by Northern Health Trust board
A PLAN which would see hospital births moved from the Causeway in Coleraine to Antrim Area Hospital has been accepted by the Northern Health Trust's board.
While Causeway Hospital would retain early assessment units, antenatal and postnatal clinics, and scheduled ambulatory services, there would be no more obstetric consultant-led births in Coleraine
The decision follows a 14-week public consultation.
The Northern Trust said the number of births in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area had declined year-on-year.
In addition, it expects birth rates to fall in the area by 11 per cent in the next two decades.
The Trust had said that maternity services in the area were "vulnerable and unsustainable".
It also said that consultant obstetrics and midwifery resources were spread too thinly across Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway, and that the Causeway Hospital had "workforce challenges and an absence of neonatal special care baby unit facilities".
Dr Dave Watkins, Medical Director of the Northern Trust said the "only viable option at this point is the transfer of all births to Antrim Hospital.
He said the aim was to have a new-build women and children's unit on the Antrim Hospital site.
The Department of Health said the trust's recommendation would now be assessed in line with its policy and guidance on change or withdrawal of service.