‘Hands off Daisy Hill’ campaign gathers pace

May 15, 2017

Despite assurances from the Southern Trust that the Emergency Department in Daisy Hill will be retained for the foreseeable future the public have been urged to continue to support the campaign for a long term solution to the A&E recruitment crisis and the retention of services throughout the hospital. Staff shortages had led Southern Trust health chiefs to announce proposals to reduce the local A & E opening hours and refer patients to Craigavon Area hospital which was to undergo a £1m expansion as a “contingency” measure.

The proposal prompted public outcry across the district, and led to a public meeting last month which was attended by more than 1,000 people, including medical staff from the hospital, all voicing their opposition to the Trust’s plans.

The eleventh hour u-turn by the Trust, following a regional summit on the issue, has done little to quell the concerns of the public and the campaign to maintain emergency care round the clock and retain all life-saving acute services at the hospital continued unabated over the weekend with Unite Newry branch unveiling its “Hands Off Daisy Hill” mural in Canal Street on Friday evening.  The event marked the official launch of the Union’s push to maintain pressure on the Trust to guarantee delivery on promises to protect services in Daisy Hill.

In the coming days Unite intends to spread the Hands Off Daisy Hill message to rural communities via banners and the launch of an innovative car sticker campaign.  Car stickers will be distributed free inside local newspapers throughout the district with Unite encouraging the public to put the stickers up in their vehicles to demonstrate their support for Daisy Hill Hospital.

The Unite launch was followed by a Council-led public rally on Saturday, where hundreds turned out in a mammoth show of support for the local hospital.

Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said the rally, which took place at 11am at the Middlebank in Newry, built “on the excellent work of the community campaign which has ensured that the Southern Trust has acknowledged the clinical need for this service.”

Supporters were urged to remain committed to the ongoing campaign to ensure the issues with Daisy Hill continue to remain in the public domain until all services within the local hospital are secured.