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Aim to have 10 Emergency Department consultants at Daisy Hill within five years

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

IT is hoped that there will be an increase of 10 permanent Daisy Hill Emergency Department Consultants by 2022.

Speaking at Thursday's Southern Trust Board meeting, where The Newry Democrat was the only newspaper present, the Chair of the Daisy Hill Hospital Pathfinder Group (DHHPG) Dr Anne Marie Telford, told board members that they are aiming for an additional five consultants by 2019.

In what was a very positive update on the Pathfinder Project, Dr Telford also revealed that the final Pathfinder report, which will be submitted to the Department of Health on December 21, will be discussed on January 5, and will be implemented as soon as it has been endorsed in "early 2018".

According to Dr Telford a number of consultants, who are close to completing their training, have expressed an interest in applying for a role at Daisy Hill Hospital.

"What made the recruitment of doctors so difficult in the past was the very small number of doctors who were training to work in Emergency Departments," Dr Telford told the Trust Board.

"There needed to be more training places for those doctors and these were created. Training doctors takes six years so it takes a very long time to turn that ship around.

"There's usually two training a year, however, numbers in training is starting to increase.

"Six will have completed their training in June and another 33 after that. Several have expressed interest in applying for Daisy Hill.

"It can't stop there, we have to look at effective measures in looking at how to reduce the number of people turning up to the Emergency Department."

It was also outlined during the meeting that the DHHPG working groups, with representatives from the community, alongside medical, nursing, managerial, non-clinical and staff members, have been developing plans in three key areas - emergency department workforce, rapid access/ambulatory services and strengthening services for the sickest patients.

There are also plans for a new Direct Assessment Unit, which is a significant new service adding benefit to patients, their families and GPs.

It would provide direct advice and support to GPs and same day clinical management.

Experience in other similar units is that up to 70% of patients seen may be discharged the same day.

There is also a proposal for an enhanced High Dependency Unit in Daisy Hill to provide care to seriously ill patients.

"Patients think this [the Direct Assessment Unit] is fantastic, it is fantastic," continued Dr Telford.

"Patients can be cared for at home rather than coming into the Emergency Department.

"The service we are talking about will be consultant led and the aim for this unit to be operational is 2018.

"While challenges remain, the ED is in a much more stable position than it was at the start of the year.

"We look forward to sharing our recommendations with the Department and continuing to working closely with colleagues in the Department, Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency, who have been supporting us through the process."

Also commenting on the progress made so far on the Pathfinder Project was Medical Director Dr Richard Wright, who welcomed the recent appointment of the Emergency Department Consultant at Daisy Hill.

"This sets out a very clear path for what we need to do," he said.

"The level of support and working together gives me great confidence.

"We have confirmed the appointment of a new consultant in the Emergency Department, which is very welcome.

"She sees a great future in this department and I think we're starting to see the fruits of our labour.

"It's very important that the community stay behind us and they have been doing that, which is so helpful."

While the Chair of the Trust Board, Roberta Brownlee, added: "This is good stuff but we can't do this without funding and it's the same everywhere in Northern Ireland."

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