Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Work begins on new Direct Assessment Unit at Daisy Hill

The first phase of construction works which will see the opening of a new Direct Assessment Unit at Daisy Hill Hospital has begun.

 The work follows last month’s announcement by the Department of Health of an initial £1.65m investment package for the beleaguered hospital as part of a long-term plan to sustain and bolster urgent and emergency care there.  The investment includes an initial £650,000 this year from the Department’s health and social care transformation fund which will be used to modernise services for patient assessment, diagnostics, discharge and care in the community and to appoint a new hospital director.  A £1m capital funding allocation from the Southern Trust will fund infrastructure improvements at the hospital site, including the establishment of the new admissions and assessment unit alongside the ED. 

Over the coming months a number of staff and services will relocate throughout the hospital to make way for the new Direct Assessment Unit in the current General Outpatients Department. 

 Welcoming the new development, Southern Trust Chief Executive Shane Devlin said:

“We were delighted last month when the Department of Health confirmed details of an investment package to support our Pathfinder proposals and we are now continuing to work closely with our Community and Voluntary partners to implement these plans to sustain the Emergency Department, enhance our High Dependency Unit and develop a Direct Assessment Unit for the hospital.

 “We are keen to ensure that the Direct Assessment Unit is operational this winter and so have an ambitious programme over the coming months which will transform the hospital. We would like to thank everyone involved in helping us to plan this project so far and ask for the continued co-operation of all staff, patients and visitors to the site whilst we make these exciting changes to our hospital.”

 The project has three main phases with the first period in July/August entailing refurbishment of the ground floor of the Nurses Home building.  In September, the relocation of General Outpatients Department and GP Out of Hours from main building to the Nurses Home will take place, culminating in the opening of the new Direct Assessment Unit in December. 

 The news that construction has begun has been heralded as “very positive” by Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady, who said the establishment  of a Direct Assessment  Unit in Daisy Hill “further reinforces the position of the hospital as a leading regional  medical facility.”

“I wish to once again acknowledge the input of all who stood together  as one to ensure that the  Daisy Hill Hospital Facility and Services would be valued and recognised for the importance that they are. United we can achieve a lot,” said Mr Brady, adding, “it is imperative that investment of both finance  and resources into the Hospital continues