Hundreds turned out today for a public rally to show support for Daisy Hill Hospital, to oppose any closure to the 24 Hour Emergency Department at the hospital and to call for any question marks over the hospital's future to be lifted.

The rally organised by Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council saw Gillian and other campaigning groups speaking to the crowd.  Speaking were Francis Gallagher, Daisy Hill Action Group, Robert Keenan, Save our Emergency Services group and Catherine Farrell, joint Trade Union Group for Daisy Hill.

Organiser Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council at the Daisy Hill Hospital Rally. Photograph: NewRayPics
Organiser Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council at the Daisy Hill Hospital Rally. Photograph: NewRayPics

Council Chairperson, Gillian Fitzpatrick said "The turnout today shows the depth of feeling and affection there is for our hospital. We want not only to see our services at Daisy Hill retained but enhanced for the people of this area. The innovative development of the Telepresence Robot between the high dependency units in Daisy Hill and Craigavon shows that creative thinking and the use of technology can ensure high quality can be provided to the decentralised bases. We welcome the trust press statement that a Daisy Hill Hospital pathfinder group has been tasked to produce an acute and emergency care implementation plan by September 2017 and that in the interim period action has been taken to stabilise the rota in the emergency department and for that we are truly thankful."

The Chairperson continued "Daisy Hill has the full support of the council and the community and we want to see it strengthened and expanded, to enable it to provide the services that this community need and are entitled to. We are not asking for anything extraordinary. We are just asking for the basic right to have our hospital. We are a city and one of the basic things to have in a city is an acute service to have the hospital, the A&E. We need to keep that and we need to work together for that.

"we will work closely together with the Southern Trust and other health services along with community groups to support the health and well-being of our community and we believe that Daisy Hill has a key role to play in the future and we look forward to supporting our hospital for many years to come."

Francis Gallagher, Daisy Hill Action Group said "I have seen two nurses on a ward for maybe thirty patients, maybe an old woman looking for a drink of water, someone looking for an inhaler that has asthma, maybe looking for help and can't get that help. Well now is the time to say enough! Draw the line here and we have to move forward and say to the people in their ivory towers down in the department of health, this has to stop, we have to change this now. What we need to do from this day on is say to the powers that be, that the question mark over Daisy Hill Hospital has to be finally lifted, and what we would say, what we are calling for is the powers that be throughout this island, not just down in Stormont but throughout this island to come to Newry, come to Newry and pledge that Daisy Hill Hospital has got a long term future."



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