SOUTH Down MLA Seán Rogers has learned that in the two years leading up to the crisis that has closed weekend A&E Services at the Downe hospital and reduced the weekly opening times, that only one advertisement for middle grade Accident and Emergency doctors was placed in the National Press and Medical Journals.[caption id="attachment_43269" align="alignleft" width="390"] South Down MLA Sean Rogers has questioned the reasons undepinning the Downe A&E hours cut.[/caption]
He said: “I recently secured an adjournment debate to discuss the situation at Downe A&E. It was during this debate the Minister for Health assured the house that every effort was being made to address the issue of recruiting the shortfall of middle grade doctors needed to keep A&E open.
“At that time Minister Poots said: ‘It is important that we make ourselves aware of the efforts that have been made in recruitment. Although they have not been successful, efforts have certainly been made.’
“I simply cannot believe the Minister is being serious when he suggests this is an acceptable level of effort for advertising such critical positions. This situation in the Downe Hospital is simply intolerable and unacceptable. Whatever the truth is, be it a political agenda to run down services at the Downe Hospital or a serious case of mismanagement, it must not be allowed to continue.”
Angered by the apparent lack of action to fully restore services thus far, the SDLP representative added: “The Minister must now come out of denial and accept that there is a very real crisis at the Downe A&E. He must come clean and personally intervene with immediate effect to ensure A&E is fully restored. Nothing short of this is an acceptable outcome.”
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