Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Southern Trust “set on closing” Daisy Hill ED: Brady

The Southern Health & Social Care Trust appears to be set on closing the emergency department (ED) at Daisy Hill hospital, despite its claims to the contrary, MP Mickey Brady has said.

Having hosted a meeting on Wednesday last to provide an update on the staffing challenges being faced by the department, Trust officials instead revealed plans to develop the A&E at Craigavon Area Hospital (CAH) as a “contingency arrangement” should Daisy Hill’s be suspended.

Mr Brady says this revelation is evidence that the Trust is “set on a course of closing” Daisy Hil’ls ED, which will lead to the loss of its acute hospital status.

Registering his disappointment at the outcome of the meeting, he said: “I had hoped that the Trust would have been offering a solution to the ongoing concerns about staff cover at Daisy Hill Emergency Department, however what was announced was a recipe to ensure its eventual closure and ultimately the removal of its acute hospital status. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Mr Brady says it is his opinion, and that of many others, that the Trust has sufficient senior staff to maintain the emergency departments of both Daisy Hill and Craigavon on a 24/7 basis and it is its management of its workforce that is inadequate.

With CAH already struggling to cope at times, he says the hospital will be unable to facilitate any increase in the volume of patients.

“I am aware that Craigavon Hospital has redirected ambulances away from its Emergency Department on numerous occasions in recent months as it was unable to cope with the volume of patients.  There is no logic to the Trust considering a reduction of service in Daisy Hill when Craigavon is already over stretched,” he declared.

“[Trust] proposals using the term ‘duty of care’ to spend £1million for additional inpatient accommodation for the Emergency Department in Craigavon, using issues in Daisy Hill ED as an excuse to close services in Newry, is nothing but a selective and manipulative use of the term.  What about the duty of care to the people of Newry, Armagh, south Down and south Armagh?” he asked.

The MP said that he and his Sinn Féin colleagues will continue to meet with the Trust and “state clearly the depth of feeling” against any closure of Emergency Department services at Daisy Hill.

“The proposal to close night time Emergency Department services in Daisy Hill Hospital must be resisted by all who value the excellent service it provides.  We will continue to work with staff, unions and the public to ensure that Daisy Hill Hospital services are protected and expanded.  We will be meeting again with the Trust in the coming weeks to discuss further the propositions we put to them and to hold them to account for their responsibility to deliver a first class health service for all citizens in our area,” he added.