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Daisy Hill pathfinder project has 20 weeks

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Daisy Hill pathfinder project has 20 weeks thumbnailDaisy Hill Hospital

THE Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department Pathfinder Project has been given a deadline of just 20 weeks.

At last Tuesday's (June 27) Southern Trust Board meeting, where The Newry Democrat was the only newspaper present, it was unanimously agreed that the Pathfinder Project would be taken forward.

The purpose of the Pathfinder Group, which will be chaired by Dr Anne-Marie Telford, is to develop proposals for the delivery of sustainable and acute emergency care following the conclusion of the 15 month period where all of Northern Ireland's Health and Social Care Trusts will work together to make sure that Daisy Hill has adequate cover.

However, a final report must be completed by November 14, leaving the Group, which has not yet been set up, just 20 weeks.

Speaking at the Board meeting, Dr Telford, who has worked in the Southern Trust area for over 20 years and has been involved with major regional and local improvement projects, explained that her priority in the month of July will be bringing together community interest groups, such as Save Our Emergency Department and Daisy Hill Action Group.

It is her aim that the first full meeting of the Pathfinder Group will take place in July.

"I know the hospitals issues and I know the people," she told the Trust Board. "The challenges have increased but it's not altogether unfamiliar.

"The main work for me is building partnerships. That's the commitment and approach I want to take to this. It's going to be a partnership with the community and staff.

"The document sets out some of the timescales. What I think is really important about this document is the comprehensive programme of community engagement.

"We want to share this information with all of those key players. We want to hear their voice, we want to consider how these names will be supported and we want to hear how information will be provided back beyond the names.

"The dates are very tight but we will meet these because we must."

It is envisioned that there will be 30 to 40 members on the Pathfinder Group, a decision that was taken in order to facilitate members of the community getting onboard.

Daisy Hill's Emergency Department crisis was described as a "top priority" for the Department of Health (DoH) and the Trust Board, and Dr Telford revealed that the DoH have a key interest in the outcome of the project as it could be used in other parts of the province.

"We have been asked to look at the pressures on the Emergency Department in Daisy Hill but we have to use it as an opportunity," she continued.

"We need to come forward with proposals which will sustain the Emergency Department in the long term. We need that long term plan.

"I have to say that staff have been very willing to do all the work that needs to be done to bring this project forward."

Dr Telford also stated that the Trust Board will be kept fully informed as the work progresses over the coming months.

Before the project was passed by the Trust Board, Non-Executive Director Martin McDonald said that those who are chosen on behalf of the community must represent the whole community, "that really needs to be nailed down at the very start," he added.

Fellow Non-Executive Director Geraldine Donaghy, asked how the Board can engage community groups but Dr Telford said that has still to be decided.

Chair of the Trust Roberta Brownlee, confirmed that if any issues arise during the process an emergency Trust Board meeting will be called.

The next Trust Board meeting will be held on Thursday, August 31.

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