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Irwin Says Long Term Daisy Hill Solution Needed

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said that a long term solution is required to ensure Daisy Hill Hospital can build resources as opposed to what he described as being continually subjected to “service disruption”.

Mr Irwin stated, “The Health Minister has responded to my official question and I am concerned by what appears to be a lack of urgency on the Minister and his Department’s behalf in terms of fully addressing this issue.”

He added, “It is clear that there is a recognition of the seriousness of the problem in the Minister’s response, however I am concerned that when referring to the public consultation, the Minister has not an established timeframe, rather he refers to conducting a public consultation ‘in due course’.

He stated, “Whilst I welcome the fact the Minister has commissioned a clinician-led review of General Surgery it is important that sight is not lost of the fact that Daisy Hill requires the appropriate consideration in terms of long term strategy and resources to enable the services to be maintained at a level that is sustainable.”

He concluded, “It is not good enough that services in Daisy Hill are subjected to such disruption on what seems an ever increasing basis, as this creates concern out in the community and also effects service provision generally in the wider region. I urge officials to work quickly and efficiently on this matter and ensure that Daisy Hill services are bolstered and rebuilt.”

AQW 28887/17-22           Mr William Irwin

(DUP – Newry and Armagh)          To ask the Minister of Health to outline his plans to reinstate emergency general surgery at Daisy Hill Hospital. [Priority Written]

Answer: While I am disappointed that it is necessary for Southern Health and Social Care Trust to move the delivery of emergency surgery from the Daisy Hill Hospital (DHH) site to the Craigavon Area Hospital (CAH) site, I recognise the critical importance of maintaining safe services.

I have asked that HSCB and the Trust take all appropriate and feasible steps to ensure that the consequences of these changes are managed in a way that minimises the impact on the local population and the risk of increased pressures on other Health Trusts.

A public consultation will be carried out in due course, with the clear intention of re-opening or reinstating the service if an alternative viable means of preventing the change is identified by the consultation.

I have also asked that fresh efforts are made to secure consultant general surgeons at the DHH site, while SHSCT develops proposals for a sustainable, long-term model of care for general surgery across the DHH and CAH sites.

It is a reality that a number of our hospitals – particularly smaller hospitals – face an ongoing challenge in recruiting and retaining specialist clinicians.

Hospitals in other jurisdictions face similar issues. No amount of additional funding or workplace planning can resolve this challenge alone. It is for this reason I have commissioned a clinician-led review of General Surgery to improve sustainability across the HSC system. 

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