ED Meeting Deadlock

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A MEETING between Southern Trust officials and Daisy Hill's Save Our Emergency Department group last Thursday to discuss safeguarding the Emergency Department (ED) proved a frustrating encounter according the group's Seana Grant.

At the summit, the Trust assured the group that recruitment was a national problem for the health service and that Daisy Hill wasn't being singled out or starved of specialist staff, an argument that Seana said the group refutes based on innumerable testimonies they've received from staff at the hospital.

Seana said: "The Trust said it was nothing to do with Daisy Hill in particular, it's to do with a problem across the entire health service.

"We didn't really accept that as we've had testimonies from staff from all Departments within Daisy Hill, who've said to us that morale has been constantly demoralised by the Craigavon-centric approach by the Trust over the past 20 years."

Trust officials pointed to investment being made in paediatric wards at Daisy Hill, a move Seana believes only points to a long-term agenda to downscale the hospital's acute status.

"The Trust pointed out to us the investment that they've made at Daisy Hill with the paediatric theatres, and I asked them to confirm whether these were paediatric planned procedures aka day procedures.

"They said that they were and that we should be happy that a lot of the services from South Tyrone will be moving to Daisy Hill. I asked them if they could not see that moving services from a one day procedure hospital to Daisy Hill reinforces the idea that Daisy Hill is effectively being turned into an appointment based hospital, to which we were met with blank faces and absolute outrage from the Trust," added Seana.

Seana asserts that the group left the meeting frustrated that the Trust couldn't give assurances about Daisy Hill's long-term ED consultancy cover.

"The meeting [had] good and bad aspects to it.

They communicated to us that they felt our campaign, and the rhetoric of our campaign was unhelpful in attracting people to work in the hospital, that it reinforced any perception that the hospital or it's services were being downgraded.

"They couldn't give confirmation about long-term commitment, in fact they very much reinforced the idea, that the solution reached at the summit for covering consultants at Daisy Hill's Emergency Department (ED) was still very much a temporary, ad-hoc arrangement, so it's still very much under threat.

"[That's] something we knew, but this confirmed that to us.

"Trust members said that in the event of an A&E closure, that it wouldn't be permanent, at which point I asked them if could they name one temporary closure of a unit in the last 30 years that has been reversed.

"They said that 30 years ago, in Liverpool, an A&E that was being renovated reopened." Seana said the campaigners would regroup .

"This campaign is still in its infancy and we're still gathering support.

"We want to also thank the many people and local businesses who have helped us so far - we couldn't have done what we've done so far if it hadn't have been for the support of local Newry businesses and people."


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