South Down MP, Chris Hazzard has called for a more collaborative approach from the Southern & South Eastern Health Trusts in delivering equitable health services for patients right across South Down.

Speaking at a public consultation on the future of the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, the MP spoke of the urgent need for health officials to work “collaboratively and constructively” in order to deliver a fit for purpose health service for local people.

Chris Hazzard MP, Sinead Ennis MLA & Cllr Oksana McMahon at Kilkeel Health Centre to meet with Daisy Hill Pathfinder Project team
Chris Hazzard MP, Sinead Ennis MLA & Cllr Oksana McMahon at Kilkeel Health Centre to meet with Daisy Hill Pathfinder Project team

Mr Hazzard said “Sinn Féin wholeheartedly support this Pathfinder project to develop a sustainable plan for the future of Daisy Hill Hospital - and I would ask interested voices from our local community and health organisations to engage proactively with Dr Anne-Marie Telford’s team in the weeks ahead.

“I also welcome the recent confirmation from the Southern Health Trust that ‘any proposed temporary or permanent service change at the Daisy Hill would require a formal consultation process; including an Equality Impact Assessment’.

"Both of these developments have contributed to a growing trust being developed between health officials and the local community as it is clear that local voices have now been given a decisive say in the future of the Daisy Hill Hospital.

“However the constructive nature of this consultation now raises serious allegations of double standards when set against the failure of the South Eastern Health Trust to consult on recent changes and closures at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick. The removal of 24hr A&E services and Coronary Care from the Downe in recent times has been done without any consultation or equality impact assessment and absolutely no say given to the local community.

Mr Hazzard added “I will be now be requesting that the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Health instruct the South Eastern Health Trust to follow the example of their colleagues in the Southern Trust and involve the local community in a constructive manner.

"The best way to do that is to immediatley launch a full and extensive consultation into the ongoing reduction of services at the Downe Hospital - including an Equality Impact Assessment.

“This would be nothing more than what has been promised to Southern Trust patients; so should be equally available to those patients being negatively impacted in the South Eastern Trust area."