Newry & Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty is seeking immediate, cast-iron assurances that the safety of local people will not be put at any increased risk as a result of the proposed “temporary” removal of emergency surgery from Daisy Hill Hospital.
Mr. McNulty said, “I’m fully supportive of rationalising our Health Service, but, the people of Newry, South Armagh and South Down do not see anything rational in losing a service which they believe is the difference between life and death. People living in Crossmaglen, Dromintee and Kilkeel need to know that today’s announcement will not put their safety and the safety of their families at any additional risk.
“I sounded the alarm on these plans earlier this month, after being approached by whistle blowers working on the front lines of Daisy Hill Hospital. The fact that the Southern Trust publicly rejected those claims, only to then publicize them today, will serve to dramatically undermine the level of public confidence that today’s announcement by the Trust is a temporary measure.
“People working on the frontline of our health service at Daisy Hill, and the patients they care for, are fearful that this is yet another attempt to further downgrade services at our local hospital.
“If we are talking about rationalising our health service, then cross-border solutions with Daisy Hill front and centre, must be part of that discussion.
“The Trust claims that today’s announcement will result in a “temporary” removal of emergency surgical services, but any removal of services, temporary or otherwise sends shivers down my spine and strikes fear into the hearts of the people I represent.
“Every time cuts have to be made to services, it is always the people of Newry, South Armagh, and South Down who have to bear the brunt of those cuts. For our area, it always seems to be a case of ‘last to get, first to lose’ and the people that I represent feel that they are constantly on the receiving end of geo-discrimination. No-one should feel that they don’t have equality of access to healthcare because of where they live.
“The Department of Health’s own guidance stipulates that in order to retain its status as a Type-1 Emergency Department, Daisy Hill must provide ‘both emergency medicine and emergency surgical services in-person and on-site, on a round-the-clock basis’.
“Anyone with an ounce of sense will see what’s happening here – the Trust are once again attempting to dismantle our Emergency Department piece by piece, this time by stealth.
“I need the people of Newry, South Armagh & South Down to join me in resisting and rejecting these Trust plans. Daisy Hill must be defended.”