Resist plans to close Belfast City A&E

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The cut-backs in essential public services continues unabated with plans by the Northern Ireland Health minister Edwin Poots to close the Belfast City A&E award by October. This is an attack not only on the staff but the entire community and should be treated as such.

With staffing shortages at an all time high due to a freeze in recruitment by the Assembly executive resulting in 2,000 jobs being cut this year alone, this decision will have a knock on effect on A&E wards at the Mater and Royal hospitals in the conditions of patient care and workers. It must be remembered that in March the assembly voted for 2.5 billion worth of healthcare cuts over the next four years.

There is also speculation that the minister plans to shut the Accident & Emergency ward at the Mater hospital in North Belfast and along with plans to axe free prescription charges by 2012 is an assault on the most vulnerable and weakest in our society.

Meanwhile, recent job figures confirm that one in four young people between 16-24 are unemployed excluding those who are economically inactive or have left our shores. Including the fact that part-time casual work is often are only option paints a bleak picture of workers paying the devastating costs of a recession that we are not responsible for.

Unfortunately, these latest cuts is not the first nor the last from our local politicians committed to attacking workers rights and conditions. The current crisis in capitalism has merely served as an convenient ideological cover to these continuing attacks on our standard of living unless we decide to stand together in solidarity and fight back. There is no other alternative!

WORDS: Sean Matthews

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