NEWS FLASH[caption id="attachment_33509" align="alignleft" width="400"] A decision is likely to be taken this week by the South Eastern HSC Trust on the opening hours at the Downe and Lisburn A&E’s due to staffing problems.[/caption]
A spokesperson for the the South Eastern HSC Trust said: The Trust is experiencing a critical shortage of medical staff in both the Downe and Lagan Valley Emergency Departments.
“This has been a critical position for a number of months and there is little prospect of a resolution. In fact, the situation has deteriorated over recent weeks.
“The Trust will be reviewing a range of options for continued provision of Emergency Care services at both sites with the objective of maintaining both Emergency Departments, albeit with reduced opening hours.
“A decision is likely to be taken this week.”
An emergency meeting for Wednesday at 6pm of all councillors at Down District Council at the beginning of the Corporate Services Committee meeting has been called to consider the issue. South Down MP Margaret Ritchie had confirmed to the Cultural and Economic Development Committee meeting that theissue had in fact arisen from a shoprtage of doctors in the Emergency Departments.
In the meeting notice to all councillors, it was indicated that the Health Minister had met with officials from the South eastern HSC Trust and that he had asked them to review their figures.
The councillors will discuss the possible closure of the Downe Hospital threatened from 6-9pm. Given the strength of polutical and public opinion, it is expected that Council will pass a unanimous resolution disapproving of the Trust’s move to cut A&E hours at the Downe Hospital.