Statement On Closure of City Hospital’s Casualty Department

From 8.00 am today Belfast City Hospital’s casualty department closed it’s doors to patient’s seeking emergency treatment. Belfast Health Trust medical director Dr Tony Stevens has publicly stated that he can give no guarantees that BCH’s casualty department will ever open again. Other hospitals in the greater Belfast area, who are already under severe operational stress, are now being forced to cope with at least another 40,000 patients!

The Irish Republican Socialist Party, along with others, campaigned against the closure of the casualty department at Belfast City Hospital and stood on picket lines during the recent Unison one day strike. The IRSP correctly identified the then proposed closure of a key BCH department as a major blow to working-class people and yet another tactic in the current Westminster/Stormont offensive against public services. Of course, the closure of a health service department is no loss to the unrepresentative super-rich, the Capitalists or the professional political ‘caste’ who can avail of expensive private medical treatment.

For the November 30th day of action, trade unions in the north of Ireland, including NUT, PCS, UCU, ATL, the FBU, Unison, GMB, Unite, NIPSA, NASUWT and others are balloting their members or have already balloted members for strike action on that date. A line has been drawn in the sand by the closure of the casualty department of BCH, it is not the end of the fight against the current crippling cuts to our services but a wake-up call to working-class people. If we are not to be hammered into the ground by the greedy elites who are responsible for the present global financial crisis and seem determined to punish the proletariat for their mistakes, then we must fight back! One way of fighting back is to support the November 30th strike by organised workers and support all protests against cuts to public services.

Join the fightback, your hospital, your school or library could be next!

Alex McGuigan,
Belfast IRSP,
Costello House,
392b Falls Road,
BT12 6DH

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