Newry City seen over a thousand people attend a rally calling for services to remain at Daisy Hill Hospital. The message on the day was loud and clear to the Southern Trust, “hands off our hospital!”
The Chairman of the Daisy Hill Hospital Save Our Emergency Surgery Committee, Mr. Francis Gallagher asked the public to support Daisy Hill Hospital with their feet by taking part in a rally on Saturday 29th April 2023 at 12noon.
The rally started at Marcus Square on Newry’s Hill Street and walked to Daisy Hill.
Speaking beforehand Francis Gallagher said:
“Our campaign committee mobilised hundreds of people to attend a recent health Trust consultation meeting in the Canal Court Hotel. The consultation is about the Trust’s proposal to permanently strip emergency general surgery from Daisy hill which was taken away last year without any consultation. The vast majority of people at that meeting made it very clear that they do not support the stripping away of emergency surgery from Daisy Hill.
Unfortunately, the Southern Health Trust and Department of Health are not listening to our very reasonable demands to have basic life saving surgery at Daisy hill. This lack of accountability is shocking and has left us no choice but to escalate the campaign to the streets of Newry.”
“Doctors have advised us that without emergency surgery all the other acute services in the hospital will eventually collapse including your emergency department and maternity unit. One could argue that with the removal of emergency surgery, the Daisyhill ED has already been downgraded from a type 1 to a type 2 ED.
For example, professional medical opinion we received, stated that if someone in Newry or other towns and town lands in the district has a ruptured intestine, the chances of making it to Craigavon in time are very slim. The logic of this is that people from South Down, Mournes, Newry Gullion are not getting equal access to lifesaving health care as those living nearer to Craigavon and Belfast.”
Speaking on the day, Francis Gallagher, Chairman, Save Daisy Hill Hospital Save our Emergency Surgery said
“This is sending a resounding message to the Department of Health and the southern Health Trust that we want to keep all our acute services at Daisy Hill Hospital. We want the Trust to be accountable. We want them to listen. Step one was we had a huge turnout at the Miller Suite in the Canal Court the vast majority of people at that consultation meeting made their voices loud and clear to the Trust and the Department of Health that we do not want our services, our life saving services taken away.
“Step two was we had over 12,000 responses to the consultation, and they were handed into the Trust at Craigavon last week. We want the trust and the Department of Health to listen to those 12,000 people that signed that not to dismiss it, but to listen to it. And finally today I want to congratulate you for coming out today. And this sends another clear message to the trust and Department of Health that we are not going to accept anything less than our full acute services at Daisy Hill Hospital. Our acute services are not up for negotiation, they are non negotiatiable.”
Councillor Michael Savage, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council was also speaking at the rally.
Cllr Michael Savage said:
“there has been two cases in the last year where surgeons have had to come from Craigavon during the so called temporary removal of emergency surgery from our hospital. The question I asked him was, can you clarify for us what mitigation steps you’re taking to ensure that the three main concerns of time delay addressed are addressed? Seven weeks on, still no confirmation or outline of what that mitigation is seven weeks on. Again is there a communication problem or is it just an unwillingness to tell us what they are really at?”
Local Independent Cllr Gavin Malone who attended the rally said:
“Today I had the pleasure to attend the Save Our Emergency Surgery at Daisy Hill Committee’s Rally at Marcus Square.There was almost a thousand people in attendance and the atmosphere was electric.
The main speakers Mayor Michael Savage, Francis Gallagher, Sonia Ferris NIPSA and Rachael Killen UNSION and former CEO of Newry and Mourne Council Eddy Curtis gave a brilliant summary of all the main issues.
The Rally left Marcus Square and marched to the entrance of Daisy Hill Hospital and held a minute’s applause for our brilliant health workers. The Rally has definitely demonstrated that the people of our region will not accept the continued reduction of our health services any longer. Please support our Hospital.”
Speaking after the public rally in support of retaining emergency surgery services at Daisy Hill, Nicola Grant of the Workers Party said,
“We must ensure that our local hospital continues to provide key services, including emergency general surgery, and that to secure it’s future Daisy Hill is also designated as the location for one or more regional specialties and a centre of excellence in it’s own right “
“Healthcare and hospitals must be accessible and safe. Not every treatment can be provided in every hospital. There will be medical specialties that can and should be provided at regional centres of excellence. But that should not be used as a excuse to asset strip local hospitals like Daisy Hill”, Nicola added.
“Today’s rally shows the strength of feeling and depth of support there is for our local hospital. The organisers are to be congratulated for their work and deserve the support of the entire community”, concluded Nicola.