SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has said she’s extremely concerned by the situation unfolding at Craigavon Area Hospital.
Ambulances are being diverted away from the hospital and patients were told not to attend except in life-threatening situations on Sunday evening.
The Upper Bann MLA said:
“The pressures at Craigavon Area Hospital and across the Southern Trust are causing fear within the local community. Since the news broke on Sunday evening I have spoken with people who are concerned they will be unable to access treatment and are unsure of what steps to take in the event of an emergency.
“The situation we are seeing unfold across our health service is a direct result of a failure from Sinn Féin and the DUP to introduce measures like vaccine certifications to ease the pressure on our health service. Our beleaguered health staff have warned time and time again about what would happen this winter, the pressures have arrived earlier than usual and our hospitals are already at breaking point.
“This situation is not solely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Southern Trust area has suffered as a result of long-term neglect and a lack of investment. Many promises have been made over the years and none of them have materialised. Nearly five years ago then Health Minister Michelle O’Neill announced plans for a new £450m hospital on the site of Craigavon Area Hospital, subject to Department of Finance approval.
Despite Sinn Féin controlling the finance ministry ever since we have yet to see any movement on these proposals.
“This week myself and SDLP colleagues will be pushing Health Minister Robin Swann on what he plans to do to ensure that everyone in the Southern Trust area can access the care they need. It’s extremely regrettable we have got to this point and urgent action is required to ensure the situation doesn’t get any worse.”