Aontu Newry and Armagh representative Daniel Connolly has slammed the recent announcement by the Health Minister to make Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry an Elective Overnight Stay Centre, caring for patients who require at least one night in hospital after surgery. The move has prompted the confirmation that emergency general surgery will now be removed from Daisy Hill Hospital entirely.
Speaking to Clanrye News and Sport Mr Connolly stated:
“The news this morning that Daisy Hill Hospital could potentially lose its capacity for emergency general surgery which is very distressing. Emergency surgery is, as the name suggests, always undertaken in an emergency. How can people travelling much longer journeys for their care help in an emergency? Becoming an elective overnight stay centre does not change that.
We were told that the halt to emergency general surgery was an “interim” measure, and it is perverse that this interim could potentially become permanent. The people of Newry and Armagh have been remarkably patient as we waited for the apparent recruitment of consultant surgeons. We have also been remarkably tolerant of political parties who have signed up to a centralising agenda that threatens the services of our hospital.
Centralising services is a warped use of the word, because anyone can see that Daisy Hill is in fact, central. Central not only to the healthcare of the people of Newry and Armagh, central not only to the staff who work there, but central in geographic terms as well. Newry is right slap in the middle of the Dublin to Belfast corridor where half of the population of Ireland lives. Stripping services from the hospital in this central location is ridiculous in its stupidity. What they mean by ‘centralising,’ is ‘around Belfast.’
Each and every one of the 5 main Stormont parties signed up for this agenda, and yet we’re about to see a deluge of their local representatives on our screens and in our newspapers claiming to ‘fight for‘ or ‘stand up for’ Daisy Hill. They’ll claim they oppose this decision while their party leaders do nothing to change it. This two-faced empty rhetoric is pernicious, insulting and incredibly disingenuous. Words are cheap, banners saying ‘such and such party stands with Daisy Hill’ are only slightly less cheap. Actions are what we need.
I was born in Daisy Hill, and I may well die there, but between these two points, I will with every sinew in my being, do everything I can to make sure it is the best hospital it can be.
We need to establish Daisy Hill as a strong cross-border hub for excellent healthcare. Healthcare services ought to be expanded in our hospital, not cut. We need to say we won’t accept empty promises from political parties at election time, we need to say “no more.” Up with this we will not put.”