Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Daisy Hill Hospital Pathfinder Project reports positive progress

The Chair of the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Project has reported significant progress on securing urgent and emergency health care for the Newry and Mourne area.  Speaking at Thursday’s Southern Trust Board meeting, Dr Anne-Marie Telford, outlined the positive and innovative work being undertaken to support the local hospital.

She highlighted the progress being made by the project’s working groups, with representatives from the community, alongside medical, nursing, managerial, non-clinical and staff-side members, in developing plans in the key areas of Emergency Department workforce, rapid access/ambulatory services and strengthening services for the sickest patients.

The workforce group has implemented an Emergency Department staffing model, which aims to increase permanent ED consultant numbers from the current 2, to 5 by 2019 and 10 in 2022.

There are also plans for a new Direct Assessment Unit – a significant new service which, according to Dr. Telford will be of additional benefit to patients, their families and GPs. The Direct Assessment Unit would provide direct advice and support to GPs and same day clinical management. Experience in other similar units is that up to 70% of patients seen may be discharged home the same day.

There is also a proposal for an enhanced High Dependency Unit in Daisy Hill to provide care to seriously ill patients.

Welcoming the innovative approaches to care that have been developed, Dr Telford said: “There has been a lot of positive engagement and regional support to secure urgent and emergency care in the Newry and Mourne area.

“These proposals will be forwarded to the Department of Health for consideration and approval. Resources to implement these proposals need to be agreed through existing formal processes.

“While challenges remain, the ED is in a much more stable position than it was at the start of the year. We look forward to sharing our recommendations with the Department and continuing to working closely with colleagues in the Department, Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency, who have been supporting us through the process.”