Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Trust to appoint permanent Treatment Room Nurse in Crossmaglen

After weeks of concerted campaigning by the community and local medical staff to secure adequate healthcare provision for the area, The Examiner can reveal that a permanent Treatment Room Nurse for Crossmaglen is to be appointed by the end of September.

During a very successful meeting last Monday with Mrs Paula Clarke, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Trust; Mr Brian Beattie, Assistant Director of Primary Care at the Trust; John Nealon, M1 Document Solutions, Tullydonnell and Michael McArdle, Estate Agent, Crossmaglen – both representing Rathkeeland House Surgery Patient Representative Group – it emerged that the Trust have advertised for a permanent Treatment Room Nurse to service all GP practices in Crossmaglen.

Speaking to The Examiner about the much welcome development, Michael McArdle said the Trust confirmed that a number of applications had already been received during the HSC Southern Trust internal trawl with the closing date for application set for this Friday 4th September.

A copy of a petition signed by 4,461 people, calling on the HSC Board and Trust, Health Minister and NI Executive to ensure the provision of appropriate health and social care services in the area was also presented to the Chief Executive during Monday’s meeting.

“The Board also stated that for the foreseeable future, the Trust will continue to fund the Treatment Room, a Treatment Room Nurse, associated stock & equipment and maintain the level of administrative support at current levels,” said Mr McArdle.

“They also confirmed that upon appointment of the Treatment Room Nurse, written clarification will be provided as to the role and function of this position.

“We look forward to the appointment being made soon and the restoration of this vital service to the entire community.”

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley MLA and Councillor Geraldine Donnelly held their own meeting with Southern Trust Chief Executive Paula Clarke and Assistant Director of Enhanced Care Roisin Toner last week where they received confirmation that the post would be filled on a permanent basis before the end of September.

Welcoming the confirmation, Mr Bradley said the SDLP had been pressing both the current Chief Executive Paula Clarke and her predecessor Mairead McAlinden to have a permanent appointment made in the Treatment Room in Crossmaglen.

“The Southern Trust operates the Treatment Room at Crossmaglen Health Centre and they have been working through a recruitment process and this is almost at a conclusion,” said Mr Bradley.

“The Chief Executive has confirmed that the permanent Treatment Room Nurse will be in place before the end of September.  This is a very welcome development and I know it will be welcomed by the people of south Armagh.”

Local SDLP councillor Geraldine Donnelly added,

“The Treatment Room Nurse is a valuable resource in any health centre and the lack of a permanent appointment since the retirement of Nurse Dillon has caused great concern in the local community.  The Nurse serves both Dr Margaret Fee and Dr Patrick Fee’s practices and I know the support the Treatment Room provides to both those practices is invaluable.”

Councillor Donnelly said her party is continuing to work with the local GPs, the Southern Trust, the Health and Social Care Board and the Ambulance Service “to find solutions to the on-going pressures on healthcare provision in south Armagh.”