Daisy Hill ED remains on track for September re-opening.
Covid-19 has presented many challenges to the people of Newry and the surrounding areas. From lockdown in the middle of March, shops, gyms, pubs, restaurants and other businesses were closing yet nothing was going to be as challenging as the closing of Daisy Hill Emergency Department writes Kevin McAteer.
Thankfully it seems the Southern HSC Trust may just be staying true to its word after the announcement that Daisy Hill A&E is on course to reopen in September as a full 24/7 trauma unit.
Welcoming the news of the re-opening this month, Mickey Brady MP commended the work of the Daisy Hill Pathfinder group for the crucial role they played in making this happen.
The Newry and Armagh MP said: “The Pathfinder group, over the last three years, have been working extremely hard to ensure the retention of Daisy Hill ED and this work continued during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Myself and my Sinn Féin colleagues met with Trust CEO Shane Devlin and senior management on numerous occasions over the last 5 months to also ensure that any closure of Daisy Hill Hospital’s Emergency Department was temporary, and at every stage we were assured it would be re-opening in September.
“This is not only fantastic news for the people of Newry and surrounding areas, but also for those staff who literally over night were redeployed to Craigavon.
“It is important that we recognise and acknowledge the sacrifices they too have made to keep our citizens safe during these difficult times.
“We will continue to liaise with the Trust and the Health Minister in the coming weeks to also ensure the reopening of all services for Daisy Hill hospital”.
Also welcoming the news, Newry & Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin said: “This is a welcome step forward for healthcare provision in the area.
“Whist restructuring decisions were taken in preparation for the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a need now to ensure that wider healthcare issues are tackled also.
“The A&E at Daisy Hill is a valuable service and funding from the DUP’s Confidence and Supply Agreement was previously used to ensure provision could continue. I am glad to see that it is now re-opening again.”
The relocation for Emergency Services from Daisy Hill to Craigavon was always going to be a difficult issue adding extra travel times for patients and staff alike. This is certainly a welcome development as local staff can be redeployed back to Newry.
UUP Slieve Gullion Councillor David Taylor said: “I warmly welcome the news that Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department staff have received confirmation that they will be returning to the hospital to provide a 24/7 service at the end of September.
“Local Ulster Unionist Party representatives including myself have been making ongoing representations to the Health Trust and the Health Minister regarding the necessity for such a vital facility as the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill to be returned at the earliest opportunity.
“This news is therefore very welcome and the local community will also be delighted and relieved that the Emergency Department will be returning shortly.
Tributes Flow To The NHS Staff Who Fought Covid-19 During The Worst Of The Pandemic.
“I want to pay tribute to all those involved in the work required to facilitate the re-opening of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill including members of the pathfinder group.
“I also want to thank the Emergency Department staff and indeed all the staff at Daisy Hill for everything they do in providing a first class health service provision to the local area.
“The local community is truly grateful that we have such dedicated and highly skilled personnel looking after our medical care needs as a population.”
Speaking on the announcement Newry and Armagh alliance representative Jackie Coade also added: “It is great to see Daisy Hill Emergency Department reopening at the end of September. This is a vital service for the people of Newry and surrounding areas. Daisy Hill A&E is a vital part of our community and is key to providing life saving treatment to the local area.
“As we have seen in recent weeks Craigavon A&E cannot take the large influx of patients with Daisy Hill Emergency Department being closed.
Politicians Are Delighted At The Daisy Hill Hospital WillBe Re-Opening.
“We have seen the videos of large queues of Ambulances outside Craigavon A&E and the stories of nurses being run of their feet and queues of patients in the corridors waiting for beds.
“This has at the very least shown the importance of Daisy Hill as an Emergency centre of excellence.
“Already I have had members of the pubic and Ambulance Service contact me telling me of their delight that Daisy Hill A&E will relieve some pressure on an already highly pressurised system at Craigavon.”
SDLP Health spokesperson Sinead Bradley said: “This is reassuring news that Daisy Hill Emergency Department will reopen in September as planned. Our continued appreciation goes to ALL those NHS staff who so selflessly continue to support us.
“Thanks also to the Southern HSC Trust Management team and the Pathfinder group who found themselves managing a serious and fast changing situation, but acted to keep us all as safe as possible.
“Sadly we are not yet in a position to draw a line under Covid-19 and the easement into a new normality is dependent on a great level of self-discipline.
“So as we clapped for the NHS staff, now we must show our true solidarity with them by wearing masks when appropriate, self-distancing, and maintaining hand hygiene standards.
“Let’s maintain one direction as we collectively journey through Covid-19.”
Independent Councillor Gavin Malone also added: “The reopening of Daisy Hill Emergency Department is great news for our community. I want to take the opportunity to commend the amazing staff in Daisy Hill A&E and thank them for the amazing service they provide for the local community and it will be great to have them back.”