McGrath Concerned at ‘Mixed Messages’ From the South Eastern HSC Trust.
SDLP Health Committee Member and South Down MLA Colin McGrath has said he is concerned at the ‘mixed messages’ coming from the South Eastern Health Trust about the Downe Hospital.
The South Down said: “I was disturbed that three of the four Emergency Departments closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK were in the North with two of them serving the South Down area.
“Many people were concerned at the choices for closure given the geographical area covered and the community backgrounds of the areas impacted.
“However, we took these decisions at face-value and under the assurances that the Emergency Departments would re-open as soon as they could.
“The Southern Trust has given an indicative time for the re-opening of Daisy Hill, but there has been no date set for the re-opening of the Downe Emergency Department – with a mere daytime Minor Injuries Unit provided recently as a stop-gap.
“When challenged about this the South East Trust indicated, via a press release and private assurances, that a date would be given at the end of July to reopen the unit.”
Down News broke this news after investigating the issue of the two ED’s in Downpatrick and Newry being closed in South Down and researched ED’s closed in the rest of the UK. The results were startling. Only one appeared to have been closed in the UK, and three in Northern Ireland, two of which were in South Down. Now politicians are asking why ? Check out the the link to the Down News article below.
MrMcGrath added: “This week we saw the release of three-month plans by Trusts in the North to step down from the Coronavirus structures implemented.
“In the South East Trust July to September plan the re-opening of the Downe ED, a date for which was promised at the end of July, is listed as ‘explore the feasibility of re-opening’ – this is a far-cry from a scheduled date to reopen which was promised at the end of July.
“The Trust is literally ebbing trust from the community of Down and Mourne and the re-opening of the Emergency Department will be the litmus test of the resolve and commitment of the South Eastern HSC Trust to the people of Down and Mourne.
“If it isn’t reopened soon we will know they do not care about our community and are truly urban-focused with the centralisation of services in Lisburn and Belfast – at the denigration of services for rural communities.”
Related article on 27th May 2020.