Monday 18 March 2019 08:07:41 PM

Hazzard Questions Hospital Trust And Minister Over Issues Of Service
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SOUTH DOWN MLA Chris Hazzard (Sinn Féin) has challenged the Health Minister Edwin Poots to publicly clarify a developing situation regarding services at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.

Chris Hazzard MLA has questioned the Trust on the delivery of sevices at the Downe Hospital

Chris Hazzard MLA has questioned the Trust on the delivery of sevices at the Downe Hospital

He said: The Cardiac Ambulance is a vital health service for local people, and its long-term sustainability should not be in question. The Minister must come forward now and publicly clarify what is happening – nothing should be hidden from the public’s view. I would ask the Minister to act in the public’s interest – come clean and end the confusion.”

“I have been contacted by several local people who feel distressed and worried that such important services within our local hospital could be under threat. To date the public have received mixed messages and confusion from those in charge – this must not be allowed to continue.

Mr Hazzard has written to Minister Poots seeking clarity on a number of issues, including the immediate threat to the Cardiac Ambulance Service and hospitality services in the Downe and added:

The MLA also criticised the Minister and his Department for their handling of the “debacle” concerning the Coffee Shop in the Downe. He said: “To Civil Servants within the Department, the Coffee Shop and related hospitality services may appear incidental, this could not be further from the truth. Hundreds of patients and relatives rely on these services on a daily basis and without them a visit or stay in the hospital would be a very different experience.”

The new Downe hospital in Downpatrick.

The new Downe hospital in Downpatrick.

Responding to the Sinn Féin challenge, a spokesperson for the South Eastern HSC Trust said: “In relation to the cardiac ambulance issue, with the introduction of Primary PCI (a revolutionary cardiac interventional service which greatly improves outcomes for patients who have suffered a severe heart attack), there is no longer a need to have cardiac ambulances on the road.

“Also, regarding Trust services: all Trust services are being examined to respond to current budgetary pressures, and as a result the coffee bar and the main shop in the Downe Hospital will be closed with the same service being provided from the main restaurant.

“No staff will be made redundant by this arrangement.  These changes will also affect facilities on other sites in the Trust area and does not soley apply to the Downe Hospital.”