MLA and Westminster election candidate Justin McNulty and party colleague Sinead Bradley have met once again with the Chief Executive and Senior Team within the Southern Trust seeking clarity on the outworking of the Trust’s Summit on Daisy Hill.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McNulty said, ‘The Emergency Department at Daisy Hill is a first class facility and it must be protected. Over recent weeks and months there has been doubt over the very future of the service, particularly out of hours, as the Trust struggle to staff the unit at the appropriate level.’

Justin McNulty and Sinead Bradley meeting the Southern Health Trust.
Justin McNulty and Sinead Bradley meeting the Southern Health Trust.

‘At its last Special Board Meeting, the Southern Trust announced its intention to host a Summit on the crises facing the hospital.  This was brought about because of the very vocal and positive campaign by the local community demanding that the Emergency Department be saved and protected.  The community of Newry, South Armagh and Mourne have long believed that there has been a systematic attempt by the Trust to downgrade the services we have and transfer many of them to Craigavon.  The Acting Chief Executive has openly acknowledged he underestimated the strength of this feeling in the community.’

‘The Department of Health and the Southern Trust have announced the outworkings of their Summit.  Following it they said that they remain committed to delivering safe, sustainable 24/7 emergency services at Daisy Hill Hospital for the foreseeable future.  Whilst we welcome this commitment, today we sought clarity on just what this means.’ 

‘The Trust have been given assurances from colleagues across the north that they will help with Consultant Cover during the evenings and at weekends. This is very welcome, however we pressed them for a more sustainable and long term solution.  To us, this is still relying on locums and it’s still robbing Peter to pay Paul.’ 

‘I applaud the Trust for their efforts to date, but we must have a long term solution to the consultant shortage issue.  We cannot continue to do this year after year.  This issue was on the last Health Minister’s desk to deal with when she left office and it will be there when the next Minister takes up post.  This is a very serious issue and must be a top priority for a Health Minister.  I fear, if it not resolved compressively, we’ll be here again in a few months’ time.’