Downe Hospital has a bright future in ever changing health world says Chris Hazzard MP.
Sinn Fein South Down MP Chris Hazzard this week visited the Downe Hospital where he was taken on an extensive tour of the local hospital and was afforded the opportunity to speak with patients, staff and South Eastern Trust management.
Mr Hazzard was joined by local Sinn Féin representatives Oonagh Hanlon from Downpatrick and Cathy Mason from Slieve Croob.
Speaking following the visit, Mr Hazzard said: “We were delighted to take this opportunity at the start of the new year to visit the Downe Hospital today and speak with staff and patients alike who are at the heart of this wonderful health facility in Downpatrick.
“Like many smaller, regional hospitals throughout Britain and Ireland over the last decade the Downe has faced many challenges – and will of course face many more in years to come. However, in recent months the Downe has also taken important steps in securing a vibrant future and it is important to recognise this and we all now must work towards providing further opportunities and expanding the range of elective services on site.
“With this in mind it was great to see the ongoing work being carried out towards getting the Downe ready to become a regional Ophthalmology centre of excellence for cataract surgery – a move that will see the Downe’s day procedure patients grow fourfold. This is a significant development of services and is testament to the professionalism of the staff and facilities on offer at the Downe.
“With expanding services helping to set a more positive context to life at the Downe, it is no surprise that recruitment of key staff – including permanent consultants – has also become a reality in recent months with many new faces choosing to come to the Downe to work. This is a fantastic boost for the hospital, and of course the wider community who have been eager to see these key posts filled.
Mr Hazzard said: “We have also been campaigning for quite some time now for an MRI scanner to be installed at the Downe – and whilst a permanent scanner is still a few years away – it was positive to learn today that a mobile scanner will be travelling to the Downe site in the near future. I have little doubt that this will be heavily used and will again prove the case that a permanent, in-house MRI scanner would be a valuable addition to the Downe Hospital.”
Sinn Féin’s Oonagh Hanlon added: “Speaking to staff today, you can’t help but be impressed by their professionalism and passion for the Downe Hospital. It may be a cliché but there is no doubt that a hospital would only be bricks and mortar without its staff and that is absolutely true of the Downe. First class facilities are nothing without first class staff, and at the Downe we are very lucky to have both.
“Staff are clearly eager to embrace the challenge of expanding services and I have no doubt that in the years to come the Downe’s reputation as a first class facility with passionate, professional staff will see services grow and develop further.”