Health Campaigners Reject Trust's Position On Reforms

The Statement “The Down Community Health Committee is in no way surprised at the decision of the Ulster Unionist Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, to approve the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust’s proposals to downgrade Accident & Emergency services at the Downe Hospital and transfer acute psychiatric services to the Nothern Ireland Executive’s beloved city of Lisburn, on the fringes of Belfast. “As the community has already won the arguments concerning the medical and social issues arising as a consequence of these proposals, there is little point in repeating them. [caption id="attachment_19952" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Health campaigners Dick Shannon and Eamonn McGrady at the Downe Hospital. "][/caption] “Suffice to say that we will continue to campaign vigorously on this issue and will energetically and enthusiastically support the judicial reviews likely to be taken by some members of the local community, in order to expose what we believe to be the fundamentally flawed nature of the process being followed by the Trust and the Department. “There is widespread belief that the process had a predetermined outcome. “We were deeply concerned by the contents of an interview on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme on Friday when a Dr Jeremy McCammon, a Staff Grade Doctor of the kind that the Trust allegedly finds difficult to recruit, who works in Belfast City Hospital, indicated that his colleagues and himself were unaware of the unfilled vacancies at the Downe despite the Trust’s repeated claims to have advertised appropriately and extensively. “Given the very small community that makes up staff grade Accident and Emergency medicine in the North, this is puzzling to say the least. “Clearly, in light of this information, Ulster Unionist Health Minister McGimpsey must move immediately to withdraw his approval, pending the outcome of a detailed review of this entire process. Natural justice requires nothing less. “In any event, if a new Health Minister is appointed in May after the Assembly elections, we will apply the most intense pressure to have these decisions reversed. “We look to our local MLA’s and their parties who will shortly be gracing our doorsteps seeking election and re-election to use all means at their disposal, including, perhaps, a cross-community vote in the Assembly to reverse this appalling decision.”]]>