Charging Causeway Hospital patients and visitors for using the cash machine there has been branded “disgraceful” by former DUP MLA and ex-Councillor Adrian McQuillan.
Mr McQuillan, who was recently selected by the DUP to stand in the local council elections in May, hit out after a disgruntled local resident contacted him to complain about the 95 pence fee she had paid to withdraw money from the Cashzone ATM at the Coleraine hospital.
He told the Coleraine Chronicle: “It is bad enough that car parking charges were introduced at the hospital but to now be charged for withdrawing your own money is disgraceful.
“Visiting a sick relative or keeping a hospital appointment is worrying enough, without this unnecessary stress.
“The lady who contacted me to complain about the ATM fee was visiting a sick relative and wanted to buy a gift for them, before her visit.
“She had no choice but to withdraw £20 as she didn't want to arrive at the ward empty-handed.
“Our health service is meant to be free but it's getting to the stage where people won't be able to afford to visit their friends and relatives at the hospital.
“I would ask why those withdrawing cash in Antrim Area Hospital are not subjected to these charges, but those in Causeway are?
“Why is a difference being drawn between Danske Bank ATM in Antrim and the Cashzone ATM in Causeway?”
He said: “We've no banks left in Garvagh now where people are also being charged to withdraw cash which is wrong.”
A spokesperson for the Northern Trust said: “The Trust is aware that there is a charge levied by the provider of the ATM in Causeway Hospital, which was contracted by the Trust for the convenience of patients, visitors and staff following to the withdrawal of the previous provider.
“The Trust does not profit from this charge which is highlighted by the provider in advance of withdrawing funds.
*Read the full reaction inside this week's Chronicle.