Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

DHH Pathfinder meeting ‘a very positive step’, say campaigners

A campaign group set up to prevent any closure of Daisy Hill hospital’s A&E department has responded positively to recent Pathfinder Project public meetings, aimed at finding a permanent solution to the issue.

On Friday last, Dr. Anne Marie Telford, head of the DHH Pathfinder Project (PFP), met with committee representatives of the Save Our Emergency Department (SOED) campaign group, relevant agencies and concerned members of the public, at a public engagement meeting in Crossmaglen.

Speaking afterwards, a spokesperson for SOED said the meeting was “a very positive initial step”.

“We were informed by the panel about the various work streams/platforms that are planned and were glad to hear that feedback and consultation will take place frequently with both the public and also staff members the future,” the spokesperson said.

“The SOED committee relayed the huge level of concern amongst the community about any night time closure of the emergency department. We committed to fully working with the Pathfinder group to ensure that this does not happen. We also reiterated our belief that Daisy Hill is facing issues that affect every hospital in every Trust, and that it is only by coming to a solution that helps every hospital, that a sustainable solution to the problem will be reached.

“The Pathfinder group members were very engaging and listened to these concerns, we felt that they fully recognised the magnitude of the support behind Daisy Hill’s ED as well as the clinical need for it being maintained as a 24/7 service.”

Although unable to address “specific concerns” at the meeting, it’s expected these will be addressed at future meetings, the spokesperson said.

“In the coming weeks and months we plan to fully inform the public of our involvement with every aspect of the group and encourage them to get in touch with any specific concerns or issues they would like us to raise throughout this process.  We remain committed to ensuring that the acute services in Daisy Hill are not only sustained but that they are also invested in and developed, and are glad to be part of this project aimed at achieving these aims.”