The SDLP Newry Mourne and Down Councillors have called for a firm timetable on the reopening of suspended services at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

Their call follows last weeks Southern Trust statement on the restoration of services at Daisy Hospital where Chief Executive Shane Devlin said they will be reopening the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry when they can be "assured that it is safe to do so"

SDLP Council Group Leader Pete Byrne said, “Over the last week myself and SDLP assembly and council colleagues up and down this district have made representations to the South Eastern Trust, Southern Trust and Department of Health regarding the restoration of services at the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals. Both Trusts have since issued statements in relation to their positions on the restoration of services.”

“Over recent weeks we have seen the plan to phase out lockdown restrictions enacted. We have listened to and seen media reports that the NHS is able to cope with the current situation in hospitals. With these changes taking place it was incumbent on elected representatives to ask questions relating to non Covid-19 related service provision and the restoration of these services.”

“We appreciate assurances from both Trust’s however actions speak louder than words. What we need to see is detail of when and how such services will be restored.”

Exceptional Work by Pathfinder Group

In relation to Daisy Hill Hospital Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage said: “While the commitment from the Southern Trust to reopen the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill subject to timing is a welcome move, the people of Newry, South Down and South Armagh need to know that the excellent services that were being provided at Daisy Hill prior to the Covid-19 outbreak will be recommissioned and if possible enhanced in the weeks to come.

“As well as the ED services being returned, we also need the Paediatric and Cardiology services recommissioned as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Exceptional work was done by the Pathfinder Group and this led to further investment in our local hospital at Daisy Hill. We must ensure that this investment realises its full potential in Daisy Hill and there are no attempts in the weeks ahead to dilute the impact of the achievements of the Pathfinder Group.

"The SDLP urge the Department of Health and the Southern Trust to outline how they intend to phase the recommissioning of services at Daisy Hill when the appropriate time arrives but also retain capacity within the system to react swiftly should a second wave of Covid-19 occur."

Addition 3pm 26/5/20

Recommissioning of Services

Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has called on the Minister for Health Robin Swan MLA to provide a detailed plan for the recommissioning of services including those at Daisy Hill Hospital.

Mr McNulty said, ‘We have seen the beginning of the easing of our restrictions as we come out of lock-down and the Minister of Health Robin Swan has stood down the Nightingale Hospital at Belfast City Hospital.  Contingent to the pandemic continuing on a downward trend, I believe now a good time to set out a clear plan for the recommissioning of other health care services including a number of critical services at Daisy Hill.’

At the outset, we all need to air on the side of caution and acknowledge the fact that we are still in the middle of the pandemic and all our resources and attention must be focused on continuing to fight the pandemic.  This is crucial in protecting the health and well-being of our society, especially vulnerable citizens and indeed in protecting our health care workers.

‘However in recognising this, we can and should plan for the future. That includes the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill as well as the Paediatric and Cardiology services based at the hospital.  It also includes the recommissioning of the regional Cystic Fibrosis Services at Belfast City Hospital, Loane House in Dungannon as well as routine screening for Bowel, Ovarian and Breast Cancers.  We have seen the number of people attending hospital and GP surgeries for routine conditions falling to worryingly low levels. The best way of encouraging people to seek help is to provide confidence by showing services are being restarted.’

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