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'We're keeping an eye on the Trust'

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

'We're keeping an eye on the Trust' thumbnailSEANA Grant from Save Our Emergency Department. NM1715

SAVE Our Emergency Department's Seana Grant says that there can be "no more decisions made behind closed doors" following the Southern Trust's statement on maintaining the Emergency Department's (ED) 24/7 status.
The Trust said in their statement that it, "remains fully committed to delivering safe, sustainable 24/7 emergency services for the foreseeable future", and Ms Grant said that public scrutiny will hold them accountable to this, before adding that the words "foreseeable future" within the statement gave her cause for concern.
Seana said: "We've got a reserved optimism, that would definitely be the byline.
"The language is still very much that of a temporary commitment to a long-term problem that the Trust have created and that's what we're looking at; to try and undo the damage that's been done."
Ms Grant said that the Trust's adoption of a non-regionalised approach in their recruitment process is a step in the right direction for getting the correct level of specialist staff hired for Daisy Hill.
"If you read the Trust's announcement, it does definitely commit to a non-regional approach to providing services at Daisy Hill, they're looking across Northern Ireland because it's a problem across all of Northern Ireland," said Seana.
Ms Grant stated that her group would work unswervingly with Trust officials in the develpment of a long-term strategy of viability for Daisy Hill, but said that it must be on a basis of total transparency with the public.
Seana said: "We're going to work with the Trust, we're going to demand visibility over their plans for the development of the facilities in the Southern Trust. We're going to discuss with relevant experts that we've got on board about the development of the health services as well as the staff.
"We are going to communicate with the public exactly what's going on and listen to public feeling on what is happening. We're going to hold the Trust to account on their recruitment policy and monitor it continually. As we speak, there is no advert for a consultant A&E doctor in Daisy Hill at the minute, and there hasn't been for the last three weeks."
The Newry lawyer believes that the people have a right to have a say in how public money is being spent, and said: "With an absolute fine tooth comb, every action of the Southern Trust is going to be scrutinised on every level and the public will be informed of every thing- there's no more decisions made behind closed doors.
"It's public money that they're spending, we have right to be informed and have an input as to how its spent.
"We understand that it's beyond the Southern Trust's control what resources area allocated to them, we understand that - we're not naive in that respect. But we demand that when they get money that they spend it equally."
Seana thinks that Daisy Hill's current recruitment woes are the legacy of a pan-generational diminishing of the hospital's status by the Trust.
"The Southern Trust keep saying, 'We're investing in Daisy Hill, we're building paediatric theatres.' Now they've built paediatric theatres, that's true and also recruited staff to work at them, but the staff have all been told that they may be based at Daisy Hill initially but it's quite likely that you will end up in Craigavon.
"Not only that, but they haven't built any beds to facilitate this. It's pretty obvious that if you're building paediatric theatres with no beds then you're really building theatres for day procedures.
"They're creating Daisy Hill to be a large day procedure unit, like they did with the South Tyrone Hospital. It's servicing a huge need at the minute so it makes absolutely no sense," said Seana.
Seana believes that a form of asset-stripping has been happening by stealth at Daisy Hill for many years, and questions why a hospital that was once a pioneering beacon, is seemingly being undermined by the Trust.
"The people of Newry, Mourne and South Down demand that the investment from the Southern Trust in Daisy Hill is commensurate with the glowing reports that their emergency and acute services received from the RQIA, that's all we ask. The RQIA has said that Daisy Hill was providing an excellent level of care and that's an outside body.
She added: "Daisy Hill was one of the first hospitals in Northern Ireland to have paediatric services in the 1970's. It has provided world-leading treatment in many areas; five years ago it was pioneering in robotic provision of care.
“Stroke services are being stripped away yet Daisy Hill was one of the first areas in Northern Ireland to have a computerised approach to Stroke rehabilitation," said Ms Grant.

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