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DHAG labels DoH as 'arrogant'

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

THE Department of Health (DoH) has been accused of having a "limited and arrogant" view towards hospitals outside of Belfast.

Francis Gallagher, Chairperson of Daisy Hill Action Group (DHAG), also claimed that the "disease of centralism" has allowed the Belfast Trust to pick and choose their doctors, while smaller rural hospitals fall by the wayside.

Delivering his impassioned speech to those gathered at Saturday's Daisy Hill rally, Mr Gallagher said that despite the Trust's assurances that they will keep the Emergency Department open 24/7, now is not the time to turn back.

"Well done everyone from the whole community, well done, but we can't turn back now, no we can't turn back now," he said.

"We must keep moving forward until we realise the ultimate vision of not only sustaining Daisy Hill as an acute hospital, but to finally have a new acute teaching and research hospital at Newry for this whole border region.

"Well done to all the staff who work at Daisy Hill Hospital. Your voices should be heard by the Department of Health and your voice will be heard . " The Trust's reliability upon locum doctors has been used as an "excuse" to close the Emergency Department, according to Mr Gallagher, and he believes that a cross border agreement to keep Daisy Hill open is vital for its future.

"The powers that be, across this island from the top tiers of government, need to come to Newry and state clearly that Daisy Hill has a long term future as an acute hospital and to back this up with a credible plan that is acted upon," continued Mr Gallagher.

"This would do more than anything else to instil confidence and encourage more doctors to work at Daisy Hill and to live in this area.

"We want to send out a message here today to doctors across these islands and abroad, that Newry and these townlands are a great place to live and work and that we will do our utmost to work with the Department of Health to ensure that if you come to work at Daisy Hill, you will have good conditions so you can have confidence in Daisy Hill going into the future.

"We say to the governments, medical establishment, politicians and bureaucrats that let this happen - enough.

Mr Gallagher also wished to show solidarity and support to all of the communities across Northern Ireland, who are also battling to retain their health services.

"Keep being optimistic and we can work together and help each other," he added.

"Long live the small acute hospital and long live a system that gives power to the people.

"Power to the people!"

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