Fears are increasing that emergency services at Daisy Hill hospital in Newry will close, after the Southern Health and Social Care Trust were asked to approve a £1m contingency plan for Craigavon Area Hospital, in the event that Daisy Hill’s emergency services have to be suspended at night.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust, who are responsible for the provision of health and social care services across the five council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon, and Newry and Mourne, confirmed in a statement yesterday that they have been asked to approve preparations in Craigavon Area Hospital to accommodate an additional flow of patients should it be required.
While in the statement, the Trust state that this would be a last resort, there are fears in the community that the contingency plan could lead to the eventual closure of emergency services in Daisy Hill.
The service at night in Daisy Hill is vulnerable due to the shortage of permanent senior medical staff, according to the statement from the Trust board meeting.
The move has MPs in Newry and Armagh and South Down very concerned, with calls for the 24-hour service to be kept. Talking to BBC News, MP Margaret Ritchie had this to say, “If there's no emergency services at Daisy Hill at the weekend or at night, there will be a constituency - and people in inaccessible places like the Mournes - having to travel nearly two hours to get to Craigavon, in grave levels of distress and pain.” "That is totally unacceptable."