Breaking News: Daisy Hill Emergency Department will re-open “no later” than September says the Southern HSC Trust Down News has learned.
Down News can report following correspondence with Southern HSC Trust sources that Daisy Hill A&E will reopen “no later” than September writes Kevin McAteer.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “We are doing everything we can to have the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital opening no later than September.”
Following considerable community and political lobbying since mid-March, it looks as though plans are in preparation for that big day when the Daisy Hill ED re-opens. But that of course depends of key factors such as there being a second wave of coronavirus.
The Daisy Hill Pathfinder Community Forum has issued the statement below in relation to the reopening of Daisy Hill’s ED which outlines the path to a September opening of the Emergency Department at the Newry hospital.
A spokesperson said: “As core members of the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group, we have worked to retain and expand the Emergency Department (ED) in Daisy Hill for over two years now.
“Before the arrival of Covid-19, we had been successful in helping to secure £7million in funding as well as more staff, new wards and services for Daisy Hill Hospital. This required lot of hard work but has ultimately been worth it to see the hospital expand and provide additional services for our community.
“With the arrival of Covid-19 in this area in mid-March, the temporary closure of the ED at Daisy Hill was agreed by the Pathfinder Group to allow Daisy Hill to remain as Covid-free as possible and treat Southern HSC Trust non-Covid patients.
“We are not sure if people are aware of the level of Covid-19 infections in the Southern Trust area, but at the peak it was high and has sadly resulted in a significant number of deaths. Moving the ED to Craigavon and only transferring non-Covid patients back to Daisy Hill has kept the disease spread low in this area. This required a huge amount of work and commitment from staff members and has saved many lives.
“This decision was not taken lightly and the impact of such a hard decision, despite all that had been achieved to that point, is not to be underestimated. It has saved lives!
“The disease, however, has not been eradicated. It is still circulating, is still highly contagious and there remains no significant treatment developments for those who become seriously ill with the virus.
“We continue to work in partnership with the Southern Trust to get services returned to Daisy Hill now that the disease level is lower, but please appreciate that Daisy Hill is a small site with limited space.
“This means the ED requires significant structural change to make it capable of providing treatment while maintaining safe social distancing. We do not want Covid-19 in the hospital if possible since this would lead to community transmission in our area and ultimately more people suffering and further deaths.”
The spokesperson added: “Every possible use of space is being made in Daisy Hill and we are working hard on finding a solution to this problem in partnership with staff in the Trust.
We as a group have all committed a huge amount of time and effort to ensure that Daisy Hill can offer everything this area deserves, and a functioning ED is at the heart of that provision. Under no circumstances would the Pathfinder group ever accept anything less.
“We note that politicians and others have recently been expressing concerns about the return of the ED to Daisy Hill and we acknowledge those concerns, but we can assure the community of Newry, Mourne, South Armagh and Down that ED will most definitely be returned to Daisy Hill Hospital.
“It was working in partnership with the community that helped reverse the proposed decision to close the ED at night and we as Pathfinder members have continued the hard work after the initial protests subsided.
“The full ED will be returning, about that we are in no doubt, however, Covid-19 remains a real threat. In acknowledgement of that continued threat we need to get the reopening of ED right.
“Southern Trust Management, Medical Staff and Pathfinder members are working towards the collective goal of having the ED reopened in September 2020. To do this we need to make sure that this does not increase the risk of additional Covid infections in the community.
“We urge the public to have patience and faith that we as community reps would not give false reassurance, we have worked on your behalf for the past three years with the sole purpose of sustaining and improving Daisy Hill.
“Please be assured that everyone is working towards ensuring that the service returns as fast and as safely as possible.”