Department meets with Daisy Hill Hospital groups
The Department of Health has met Daisy Hill Hospital campaigners to underline that intensive work is ongoing to stabilise its services.
Priorities for this stabilisation work include safeguarding service provision, minimising potential bed reductions and protecting the Emergency Department.
Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May held meetings today with the Daisy Hill Hospital Future Group and the Daisy Hill Hospital Newry Save Our Emergency Surgery Campaign.
He was accompanied at the meetings by senior DoH officials and Southern Health and Social Care Trust Chief Executive Dr Maria O’Kane.
Commenting after the meeting, Mr May acknowledged: “The departure of consultants from Daisy Hill in recent weeks has caused deep concerns among staff and the local community.
“I assured both groups I met today that these concerns are shared by the Department and the Trust. We are working collectively and exhaustively to urgently stabilise services.
“The ongoing intensive discussions involve the wider Health and Social Care system, reflecting the fact that Daisy Hill is an important part of NI’s hospital network.
“The Department’s commitment to the hospital is evidenced in the announcement earlier this year of a £9.1m upgrade in its electrical infrastructure.
“I believe a way forward can be found to safeguard services and, crucially, to continue to protect and support the hospital’s Emergency Department.
“Alongside this stabilisation work, we also need to ensure a sustainable future for Daisy Hill and other hospitals of a similar size.”
Mr May added: “I welcome the opportunity for today’s meetings. The local community is quite rightly very protective and proud of Daisy Hill Hospital.
“It is right that people are passionate in defence of the health service. However, I would appeal for the debate on the hospital’s future to be conducted respectfully.
“I have seen up close the commitment of the Southern Trust’s senior management team to Daisy Hill. They do not deserve the personal abuse that has been directed at them from some parts of social media.
“The issues involved go much wider than the hospital or the Trust. Health authorities in many jurisdictions are grappling with the best way to ensure sustainable hospital consultant staffing.
“It is a challenge that was highlighted in the Bengoa Report [link to full version and executive summary] and properly resolving it will require strategic choices, investment and political leadership.”