SDLP raise concerns with Health Trust Chief

October 21, 2013

SDLP Assembly Member Dominic Bradley MLA has led a delegation of SDLP representatives to meet the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Mairead McAlinden and Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care Services.

The meeting was convened to discuss a number of issues across the trust area, not least the recent rise in speculation that Daisy Hill Hospital’s Stroke Unit is set to be relocated from Newry to Craigavon.

SDLP Councillor John McArdle, who attended Friday’s meeting along with Mr Bradley, had spoken out against such a move last week, describing it as “devastating for our area.”  The former Mayor, who also works as a Registered Nurse at Daisy Hill Hospital, highlighted the importance of rushing a stroke patient to hospital immediately and said he utterly condemned any moving of the service as a potentially life threatening decision. He also called on local people, hospital staff and GPs to “stand up and oppose” such a transfer of stroke services.

Commenting after the meeting Mr Bradley said that he and his colleagues, John McArdle and Thomas O’Hanlon, had raised their concerns about a number of issues regarding changes in Daisy Hill and local community based services.  He added that they had also addressed the retention of Stroke Services at Daisy Hill.

“We fundamentally believe it is important that someone who has suffered a stroke gets the most urgent attention required as soon as possible and that rehabilitation services are retained locally,” said Mr Bradley.

“We raised the concerns of staff about the fear that services were being withdrawn from Daisy Hill and Mrs McAlinden has sought to reassure us that this is not the case, she has also undertaken to have senior management meet with the Staff of the Stroke Unit in Daisy Hill as a matter of urgency to discuss the issue.

“Following representations from local communities in the Bessbrook area, we raised concerns about a vacant post within the MacMillan Cancer Care services in that locality.  This is a much needed service locally and following retirements within the service a post has remained vacant.  I am pleased the Chief Executive could confirm a recruitment process will begin within days.”

Mr Bradley and his colleagues also pressed the need for an MRI scanning facility in Daisy Hill as a key component in securing the future of Daisy Hill as an Acute Hospital.  According to the SDLP MLA, Mrs McAlinden gave an undertaking to push to have one installed at Daisy Hill and that a business case was being actively pursued to ensure this is delivered.

In conclusion Mr Bradley said, “The Health Service has undergone major transformation in recent years and we are keen to work with the Southern Trust to ensure real and meaningful investment in the Health infrastructure locally and want to see Daisy Hill retain its rightful place as an acute hospital offering new and innovative services.”