Daisy Hill Community Forum endorse Pathfinder final report

February 12, 2018

The Daisy Hill Pathfinder Community Forum representatives have warmly welcomed the actions of the Department of Health following its recent endorsement of the Pathfinder final report, a project that was chaired by Dr. Ann Marie Telford. 

In response the Forum representatives – Karl Hughes (Wellness Action Partnership), Marian Cully (Community Development), Seána Grant (Save Our Emergency Department Group), Michael McKeown (Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade), Dr. Donal Duffin, Jerome Mullen (Polish Consul in Northern Ireland and Daisy Hill Action Group) and Francis Gallagher (Daisy Hill Action Group), issued a statement in which they remarked on “the developing optimism and positive rhetoric” in discussions on the future of Daisy Hill Hospital and primary care in the community. 

This, they say, is “a significant change” from the situation in February last year when staffing issues threatened the temporary closure of the Emergency Department.

“The response from the public to this announcement was seismic, and in its wake, efforts to remedy this situation by the Southern Health Trust, neighbouring health trusts and the Department of Health have been robust.  The Pathfinder project was subsequently set up to propose solutions to both the root cause of the ED staffing issue and associated problems affecting other departments and services,” the statement read.

“Overseen by Dr. Telford, the project has involved staff from across the Trust, relevant experts as well as community representatives, who have worked together to deliver this comprehensive report within the short timeframe allocated.

The most notable findings in the report are the recognition of the absolute necessity for Daisy Hill ED to operate on a 24/7 basis and the need for GP services, out of hours services and acute care services in both the hospital and in the community to be invested in and developed beyond their current scope.”

The project has initiated “innovative ways” of problem solving in the Health Service, and the “open and dynamic attitude”of those involved, coupled with the willingness to allow the community to be involved throughout, is a welcome development in the planning and provision of healthcare in the Southern Trust, it stated.

“As the project now moves into the implementation phase, community  representatives will be involved throughout and will continue to advocate on behalf of patients, service users and the public. We are committed to supporting the Department of Health in moving this project forward and urge them to release appropriate funding without delay.  We will continue to keep the public informed of developments and seek their views on the future of Daisy Hill and primary care in this district. Our thoughts and solidarity are also with all those other communities in the North who are trying to develop their health service,” the statement concluded.