Northern Ireland

A&E departments update for Stormont health committee

Hospital trolley
Image caption The health department is facing staff and financial shortages

The Stormont health committee will be updated on the state of A&E units at a special meeting later.

The briefing by Health Minister Edwin Poots comes as his department faces staff and financial shortages.

Last month, a draft document from the Health and Social Care Board indicated that healthcare faces stark choices - with a funding shortfall of almost £1bn over the next four years.

The minister has said his priority remains safe and effective A&E units.

In recent weeks, the minister has moved to quell rumours about the future of the casualty department at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast.

Now, speculation has switched to services at Belfast City Hospital.

One health committee source has said there are strong indications that A&E there could be scaled back.

The minister has also said he is awaiting updates from the board on contingency plans from health trusts to deal with shortages of junior doctors.

More on this story