Hazzard Says No To Centralising Psychiatric Services

Acute Psychiatry Services Must Not be Centralised says Hazzard.

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Acute Psychiatry Services Must Not be Centralised says Hazzard.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has called on the Department of Health and the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) to abandon plans to centralise local acute psychiatry services away from Downpatrick to Belfast. 

The South Down MP said: “Our local acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit located at the Downe Hospital is a vitally important service for some of our most vulnerable local patients.

The former Downshire Hospital. There is a strong link with psychiatry in Downpatrick running back to the 19th Century. Local campaigners want to see the present services located at the new Downe Hospital remaining there.

“Since opening in 2009, this modern new facility has been a real lifeline for so many people locally who benefited greatly – not only from its modern facilities and first class healthcare – but from the fact that it is located locally in our community. 

“The South Eastern HSC Trust has now submitted plans to close this local facility and centralise the acute services in Belfast.

“This is a retrograde step for local healthcare in the South Down area and should be actively opposed by all. 

“I have written to the Health Minister Robin Swann, and the SEHSCT, to call on them to abandon these regressive plans and support local acute healthcare for our local community. 

“On the back of the recent failure of the Health Department and the South Eastern HSC Trust to restore the A&E at the Downe Hospital as previously promised, this decision will only exacerbate the growing sense of anger and frustration within our local community that those in charge of health care delivery are proactively working against the needs of our local community.” 

Down Community Health Committee Chairman Comments On Services Threat.

Eamonn McGrady, Chairman of the Down Community Health Committee, has expressed his deep concerns about proposals to remove the psychiatric services from the Downe Hospital.

He said: “We are extremely concerned that the Department of Health appears to be intent on implementing changes during an extremely stressful time in our hospitals made worse by the Covid-19 epidemic.

The new Downe Hospital in Downpatrick, currently delivering psychiatric services along with other general and specialist services.

“The apparent absence of consultation carried out by the Department of Health just adds to the level of distrust while they are dismissing our community.

“Downpatrick has a long history as a centre of excellence in the history of psychiatry provision and mental health services.”

Mr McGrady added: “Stripping more services from Downpatrick to deliver this for the greater Belfast area yet again demonstrates that the centralists in the Department of Health are having their way.”