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Only acceptable position is 24/7 service at Daisy Hill says Justin McNulty

Thursday, 13 April 2017

NEWRY and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty is seeking an urgent meeting with a senior official at the Department of Health in a bid to safeguard the long term future of Daisy Hill.

Mr McNulty led a delegation of fellow party members to meet with the Acting Chief Executive of the Southern Trust last Tuesday to discuss the crisis facing the hospital's emergency department,

Speaking after the meeting, the MLA - who was joined by South Down MLA, Sinead Bradley and councillors, Pete Byrne and Kate Loughran - warned an "urgent response" is required in order to "safeguard" Daisy Hill's future.

"Daisy Hill is an acute hospital and it must remain so. To do so, it must retain its 24/7 emergency department and all the support services that come with that status, including radiology services," he stressed. "It seems like a battle a day as the people of Newry, Mourne and South Armagh fight to retain basic health and social care services in this community. This community demands and deserves as much from their health services as those in Craigavon or Belfast."

He continued, "We pressed the Acting Chief Executive and his team on the very real concerns in the community about the future of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill. I have met with the Trust on this very issue on a number of occasions now and the answers remain the same. It is a workforce issue and they have made numerous efforts to recruit the appropriately qualified staff, including offering enhanced packages with recruitment exercises on a global level

"Whilst I do appreciate the efforts the Southern Trust have been making in this regard, this is a much bigger issue than the Southern Trust, this is a regional problem and can only be resolved with a regional solution."

Now seeking a meeting with the Department of Health's Permanent Secretary, to lobby for interim and long-term solutions to be put in place, the MLA continued, "This situation is deeply concerning and unfortunately is nothing new. Year in, year out political and community representatives have warned about the long-term future of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill.

‘The Emergency Department at Daisy Hill is an extremely important service for the people of Newry, Mourne and South Armagh and we will not accept a second class service. We are all too aware of how the 'temporary' closure of Belfast City Hospital's Emergency Department became permanent, again due to staffing issues.'

‘We will continue to work with the Trust in seeking a permanent solution to this problem. The only solution the SDLP will accept is a permanent and safe service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Daisy Hill."

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