Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Secure future of Daisy Hill ED a step closer as new consultant recruited

The appointment of a newly trained consultant at Daisy Hill’s beleaguered Emergency Department has been welcomed as a positive step forward in its sustainable long term future. 

The local Emergency Department had been on the brink of temporary closure earlier this year due to a lack of senior medical staff available to cover night shifts. The potential loss of a 24/7 emergency unit prompted public outcry and a slew of protest rallies and public meetings demanding the retention of round-the-clock services.

Confirming the long awaited appointment to The Examiner on Thursday last, a Southern Health and Social Care Trust spokesperson said the appointment process was supported as part of the regional approach to securing the ED at Daisy Hill, and described it as “an important first step in the long term plan for the service.”

The new consultant will take up the post in January and will be based in Daisy Hill Hospital, with one day per week working in Craigavon Area Hospital.

Offering “the warmest of welcomes” to the new doctor, a representative for the Save Our Emergency Department campaign group said confirmation of the appointment was “fantastic news and due in no small part to the community coming together so strongly to get behind Daisy Hill.”

“We hope that this helps build momentum to filling the other posts advertised,” said the campaign group representative adding,

“Progress is being made every day to secure a better future for Daisy Hill and the people who depend on it.”

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh, Justin McNulty said the appointment was confirmed by Dr Anne Marie Telford who is leading the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group.

Mr McNulty welcomed the news and thanked Dr Telford and her team for all their work to date in seeking to secure the long term future of the Daisy Hill Emergency Department.

“Dr Telford has been working closely with the Southern Trust, the Chamber of Commerce, the Save Daisy Hill Action Group and the local community to ensure we have a strategic plan in place and the recruitment of staff has been key element of that plan,” said the SDLP MLA.

“Daisy Hill is a very important acute hospital in our community and there has been significant investment in infrastructure over the last number of years. I am keen to see that investment continue and at the same time a sustained drive must continue to recruit the appropriately qualified staff for the services we need.”

Acknowledging the difficulties across the UK in recruiting Emergency Doctors and Consultants, Mr McNulty said,

“I firmly believe that Daisy Hill is one of the most appealing places to work with its position on the Eastern Economic Corridor and access to Belfast and Dublin and the AONBs of Gullion and Mourne.

“It is a small but busy hospital with its Emergency Department getting busier. Daisy Hill ED has very strong support from the local community with people power playing a big part in encouraging the Trust to act to recruit and appoint suitably qualified medics.” He gave “huge credit” to the Daisy Hill Action Group and The Newry Chamber of Commerce for their efforts to assist the Trust in the recruitment process, and he praised “the very positive role the local community have played in getting to this stage.”

“Their very strong support for Daisy Hill hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Southern Trust and I believe that their huge support for the Emergency Department played a significant role in Dr Telford and her team being appointed in the first place. Their continued support for Daisy Hill will be vital as this process moves forward.