Bradley welcomes switchboard retention in Daisy Hill

April 6, 2010

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley, has welcomed the retention of switchboard services at Daisy Hill Hospital.

“The switch board in Daisy Hill Hospital is a front line service insofar as it also acts as a reception area for the hospital and is the first point between the public and staff on entering the hospital.  Having, along with my colleague Councillor John Mc Ardle and others in the SDLP, lobbied hard for its retention, I welcome the decision of the Southern Trust to retain this important service,” Mr Bradley said.

“The switch board has a vital role to play in the effective management of major incidents and in helping to initiate the major incidents plan.  It is a nerve centre in such situations. Removal of the service from the hospital would lead to an increased activation time in response to major incidents – something which could cost lives.

“All day long and especially during the hours of 10pm to 7pm the switch board as well as dealing with important communications acts as the eyes and ears of the whole hospital,” he continued.

“The switch board operators are in fact an added line of security who can alert the security service of any suspicious activity.  Switch board operators are familiar with people who have caused problems at the hospital previously and can activate processes to have them monitored or removed if necessary.  The operators can also report patients who have wandered from the wards and ensure that help is quickly on hand to return them before they have a chance to leave the hospital.

“On occasion expectant mothers arrive at the main door of the hospital at night when operators act quickly to ensure that they are attended to without delay.  These staff also direct distressed relatives who are called to the hospital after an emergency or in near death situations to the appropriate ward and are a welcoming contact in such circumstances.

“I believe that that the response will be much more rapid if  clinical co-ordinators are be in a position to contact radiologists, consultants on call, pharmacists, physiotherapists, laboratories, social workers, domestics supervisors, PSNI etc through the hospital’s own switch board,” he added.

Party colleague, Councillor John Mc Ardle added, “If clinical co-ordinators had to go through a switch board located elsewhere, valuable time could be spent on hold awaiting connection with the appropriate department or person.  Time spent on hold is time which would be much better used in dealing with patients.

“The consultants in Daisy Hill Hospital are very concerned about the possibility of removing the switch board service from the hospital and have informed us that they too will be contacting the Southern Trust to express those concerns,” Mr McArdle said.

“It is clear from the information we have outlined in this submission that there is much more to the switch board service than initially meets the eye and that it is indeed a vital front line service for Daisy Hill Hospital.”