Hazzard To Host All-Party Meeting On Downe Hospital Future

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MP to host all-party meeting on Downe Hospital.

Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard will host an all-party meeting on the future of the Downe Hospital this week in Downpatrick in the St Patrick Centre.

He said that “given the failure of the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) to restore Emergency Care in the local hospital following the reconfiguration of services at the outset of the Covid19 emergency” that it was necessary to find a solution to this issue.

The South Down MP has invited participation from all five local political parties, the Down Community Health Committee and local trade union representatives. 

South Down MP Chris Hazzard.

Mr Hazzard said: “There has been widespread anger and frustration following the confirmation from the SEHSCT in recent weeks that they currently have no plans to restore our local A&E at this point, and instead they are introducing a 7-day Minor Injuries Unit.

“In recent years the SEHSCT closed vital services in the Downe such as Coronary Care and 24-hour Emergency Care on a ‘temporary basis’ and they have never returned. 

“The legacy of these cuts – without any suitable public consultation or Equality Impact Assessments – is felt on a daily basis in our community.

“Therefore it is unsurprising that we are reluctant to take at face value assurances that the South Eastern HSC Trust are ‘looking at the feasibility of returning the A&E’ as was promised at the outset of the Covid19 emergency. 

“This week I will host a meeting with representatives from our local political parties invited – plus our local Downe Community Health Committee and trade union representatives.

Strikers and supporters at the gate of the Downe Hospital supporting the nurses strike – a public campaign to have the Downe A&E re-opened could now be on the cards.

“Approaching this issue united as a community is vital in protecting our community, and I thank all for embracing a spirit of social solidarity in the face of such adversity. 

“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency we cannot host a public engagement at this time, and participation at this preliminary meeting has been drastically curtailed to no more than two representatives from each organisation.

“Hopefully we will be able to host a more public event in the near future, as we all understand the growing anxiety in our local community concerning the future of the Downe Hospital.”