South Eastern HSC Trust have responded on the call for Downe Urgent and Emergency Care Services.
A spokesperson for the South Eastern HSC Trust said in relation to the future of the Downe ED, said that: “Our commitment to re-opening the Downe Urgent and Emergency Care services when it is safe and appropriate to do so is as clear today as it was when we made the changes.
“We are not in a position yet to restore the services to pre- Covid levels but as a first step towards that goal we are opening a seven day Minor Injuries Service in the Downe ED, 9am to 5pm from 3rd August. It is not a replacement, but a first phase of opening.
“During this time we are actively working through each of the steps necessary to safely re-open and hope to advise the date by the end of July.
“At no time did the Trust state that the Minor Injuries Service would replace the Emergency Department and the Trust Chief Executive Seamus McGoran made this abundantly clear to those present at the meeting on Thursday (this week).
“Covid-19 has not gone away. The re-opening of the Minor Injuries Unit is the only step the Trust is able to take at this time, due to a number of critical factors. These include the continuing threat of Covid-19, the ongoing planning required, staffing availability and managing safety and risk for our patients, service users and staff.
“We would like to assure the local community that it absolutely remains our intention to restore the full Emergency Department at the Downe Hospital to the levels delivered pre-Covid-19.
“We appreciate the concerns of the local community and that people are keen to receive assurances and a date for re-opening the full Downe Hospital Emergency Department. As soon as we have a date, we will advise.”
The Trust spokeperson added: “The Trust is progressing all plans in accordance with the Department of Health’s ‘Strategic Framework for Rebuilding Health and Social Care services.’
“As we work to rebuild our services, our absolute priority will be to keep our patients, service users and staff safe. We remain committed to working in partnership with elected representatives and the local community, and have agreed that regular meetings will take place going forward.”