Daisy Hill Pathfinder Project submits final report

January 8, 2018

The Daisy Hill Pathfinder Project has submitted its Final Report to the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health.  The project was set up in response to heightening concerns regarding the sustainability of a 24/7 emergency department and to bring forward recommendations on the best way to meet the unscheduled care needs of the Newry and Mourne population in the future.

Chair of the project, Dr Anne Marie Telford says the transformational model that the Group has developed “should bring significant benefits to those living in the catchment area of Daisy Hill Hospital.”

Among the recommendations in the report is the establishment of an appropriately staffed ED achieved through a 5 year workforce plan and the implementation of alternatives to admission to hospital, including direct GP access and the development of a new Direct Assessment Unit in Daisy Hill to provide ‘same day’ ambulatory emergency/urgent care services and telephone advice to GPs and Northern Ireland Ambulatory Services. Strengthened High Dependency Care that will improve the management of the sickest patients in the hospital and improve patient flow and clinical outcomes is also put forward in the report as well as the  expansion of Acute Care at Home services across the district in conjunction with the introduction of rapid assessment clinics in Daisy Hill and a ‘Discharge to Assess’ model to improve the management of frail elderly patients.

The Pathfinder Report also proposes the introduction of measures to improve patient flow including those identified through a commissioned audit undertaken by the HSCB’s senior nurse review team,  the 100% Challenge undertaken in November 2017 and new ‘Discharge to Assess’ processes across the Southern Trust. Strong collaboration with primary care services is also recommended to ensure the new service model meets the unscheduled needs of the population.

A high level Implementation and Investment Plan has now been developed, with a Strategic Implementation Group due to be established. The group, chaired by the Trust Chief Executive will start work as soon as the report has been considered and endorsed by the Department of Health.

Commenting on the final report of the Pathfinder Project, Francis Gallagher, Chair of the Daisy Hill Action Group and one of the forum representatives on the Pathfinder Project urged the Department of Health to embrace the new proposals to develop Daisy Hill as a “once-in-a-life-time opportunity.”

“The Pathfinder members and leaders have achieved a lot in a short timescale. The Department of Health may be deciding very soon whether to provide funding to make the Pathfinder ideas a reality,” he added.

“I would ask the Department of Health to see this as a great opportunity and grasp it because I think it would be a great success for the Department and and for patients.”