Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

McNulty disappointed at rejection of meeting request

SDLP Newry & Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has called on the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly, to reconsider his decision to refuse a meeting regarding the emergency department at Daisy Hill hospital, Newry.

Expressing his disappointment, Mr McNulty said: “With the future uncertainty over Daisy Hill’s Emergency Department, it is hugely unsettling that the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health has refused to meet me.

“The simple fact is that the Permanent Secretary is the acting head of the Health Service. He is the person who is charged with the responsibility of over-seeing the running of the Health Service, and he has a duty to meet with elected representatives.

“Rather than dealing with the issue, he is more concerned with deflecting responsibility onto a new Health Minister. However, with a Westminster election called and with on-going talks, there is no guarantee that an appointment will be made any time soon.”

Having requested Mr Pengelly to reconsider his request for a meeting, Mr McNulty added, “I have also asked him to confirm details in relation to the staffing rotas and the recruitment efforts made on behalf of the Trust for both Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospitals’ Emergency Departments.  The people of Newry and south Armagh need certainty that every effort is unquestionably being made to secure our Emergency Department in Daisy Hill and that no preference is being given to one hospital at the expense of the other.”