Public urged to support Daisy Hill Stroke Unit at upcoming meeting

January 9, 2017

A local action group is calling on people to attend a public meeting this month to show their support for Daisy Hill’s Stroke Unit and A&E department. The meeting is one of 13 public meetings scheduled by the Department of Health across the north to discuss its future plans for the delivery of health care. It is set to take place on Monday 16th January at 7pm in the Newry Conference and Banqueting Centre, The Mall.

Francis Gallagher, Chairperson of Daisy Hill Hospital Action Group has described the upcoming event as “a great opportunity for the public to once again show their support for the retention of Daisy Hill Hospital’s Stroke Unit and A&E department.”

The recently published Bengoa study, which has set out criteria to measure the future provision of medical services in the North, will be the topic of the consultation at the public meeting.

Speaking to The Examiner ahead of the event, Mr Gallagher urged the public to attend to make their views heard about future health care services.

“It is crucial that people let their opinions be known otherwise we could lose our excellent stroke unit and Daisy Hill’s acute status,” he said.

“Quite some time ago the Department of Health said Daisy Hill’s Stroke Unit would close but it is still at Newry because thousands of local people had enough confidence to support a better future. The Bengoa report, while having many good points such as more support for primary care, represents a new threat to acute services at Newry but this too can be defeated.

“It is recommended in page 73 of the Bengoa study that Daisy Hill’s excellent stroke unit should be centralised to Craigavon but in terms of the clinical evidence, Daisy Hill’s stroke care has exceptionally positive outcomes for patients.

“It is important to go by the clinical evidence in health care provision and we would argue that the evidence backs up the case for the stroke unit and A&E to stay at Daisy Hill.

“Medical professionals advise us that If someone unfortunately takes a stroke they will need to have a scan and maybe a ‘clot busting’ injection very quickly before a clot becomes ‘well organised’. How will this early intervention be provided if valuable time is wasted by taking a patient on poor roads to Craigavon?”

The action group Chairman accused those behind the Bengoa study of using the increase in an aging population as “an excuse to explain the failings of the health service.”

“How many families have not had to advocate for a critically ill mother or father because of staff shortages? It is unfair for many staff to have to try and cope with an excessive workload. This can also be a very upsetting experience for patients and families to be put in this situation”.

“We accept radical change is needed in health care but it needs to be progressive. We have referenced much material from medical research that shows over 80% off all acute medical care can be provided in the well resourced acute hospital with the super specialist centres needed for the remaining 20%.

“This principle of subsidiarity in health care, where the maximum amount of health care is empowered to the lowest grassroots level, is a worthy vision and one that government here should be working towards.”

The public meeting will begin at 7pm on January 16th in the Newry Conference and Banqueting Centre, The Mall.