Downpatrick Councillor Colin McGrath (SDLP) presented a motion to Down District Council Council calling for council solicitors to examine all of the decisions taken to reduce the bed count at the Downe Hospital and ascertain that all policies and procedures were correctly followed.[caption id="attachment_43780" align="alignleft" width="390"] Councillor Colin McGrath succeeded in getting a motion unanimously passed by Down District Council to legally challenge cuts to the Downe Hospital’s services.[/caption]
The motion received unanimous support. Speaking following the vote, the group’s Health spokesperson Cllr McGrath said: “This is a serious matter for the people of Down and Mourne. We are seeing a disproportionate reduction in the bed count at our hospital, and the people of our area will not accept that.
“There has been no consideration given to the rural location of service users at the Downe. This decision is, by and large, taken by city-dwellers who are never more than a few miles from an acute hospital. This massively impacts the residents of Killough, Ardglass, Strangford, Leitrim and Dundrum – who now have to travel over 35 miles of rural roads to access decent Coronary Care and other lifesaving health services.
“This decision is bad for the Downe Hospital because the hospital has already faced cuts to its provision in the past – ranging from loss of 24-hour, consultant-led Emergency Department to the loss of some elective surgery. The South East HSC Trust have never given the Downe a chance and it is crucial that their decisions are examined to ensure parity, safety and services for the people of Down and Mourne.’
Councillor McGrath’s Motion said: ‘That this council expend monies under Section 37 of the local Government Finance Act (NI) 2011 to engage the services of our council solicitor to investigate and scrutinize the recent decisions taken by the South Eastern HSC Trust to introduce temporary closure of the Coronary Care Unit at the Downe hospital, decision to subsume six of the Unit’s beds into the medical wards at the Downe and to reduce the overall bed profile of the hospital by nine beds. Council asks our solicitors to examine all decisions taken by the Trust, the Minister and Department to investigate any grounds for a Judicial Review to overturn this decision.“]]>