SDLP Newry Mourne and Down Councillors respond to Trust statements on the restoration of services at the Downe and Daisy Hospitals and call for a firm timetable on the reopening of suspended services.
SDLP Council Group Leader Pete Byrne said, “Over the last week myself and SDLP assembly and council colleagues up and down this district have made representations to the South Eastern Trust, Southern Trust and Department of Health regarding the restoration of services at the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals. Both Trusts have since issued statements in relation to their positions on the restoration of services.”
“Over recent weeks we have seen the plan to phase out lockdown restrictions enacted. We have listened to and seen media reports that the NHS is able to cope with the current situation in hospitals. With these changes taking place it was incumbent on elected representatives to ask questions relating to non Covid-19 related service provision and the restoration of these services.”
“We appreciate assurances from both Trust’s however actions speak louder than words. What we need to see is detail of when and how such services will be restored.”
In relation to Daisy Hill Hospital Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage said: “While the commitment from the Southern Trust to reopen the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill subject to timing is a welcome move, the people of Newry, South Down and South Armagh need to know that the excellent services that were being provided at Daisy Hill prior to the Covid-19 outbreak will be recommissioned and if possible enhanced in the weeks to come.
“As well as the ED services being returned, we also need the Paediatric and Cardiology services recommissioned as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Exceptional work was done by the Pathfinder Group and this led to further investment in our local hospital at Daisy Hill. We must ensure that this investment realises its full potential in Daisy Hill and there are no attempts in the weeks ahead to dilute the impact of the achievements of the Pathfinder Group.
The SDLP urge the Department of Health and the Southern Trust to outline how they intend to phase the recommissioning of services at Daisy Hill when the appropriate time arrives but also retain capacity within the system to react swiftly should a second wave of Covid-19 occur.
Regarding services at the Downe Hospital, Downpatrick SDLP Councillor Gareth Sharvin said “The announcement from the South Eastern Trust yesterday providing assurance that it absolutely remains the Trust’s intention to restore all services in the Downe Hospital to pre-Covid-19 levels as soon as they safely can, is welcomed but with hesitation. The wording of the announcement does not provide the full assurance and comfort the people of South Down deserve and seek from the Trust.”
“When we hear that the wall clock from the Emergency Department was even taken down while the temporary closure was being implemented, does not give the people of South Down the feeling of honesty from the Trust. The Downe Hospital was fought for by the people of South Down and today continues to be the biggest priority for everyone in our area. The excellent services provided pre-Covid-19 must be restored to save lives and protect our NHS.”
“In addition, the trust must give full commitment that all other services will remain at the Downe Hospital such as GP Out of Hours and the Downe Midwifery Led Unit. When the Trust has provided this recovery plan with a timeframe, only then will they have given the people of South Down the full assurance and comfort that the Downe Hospital will be restored to its normal service.”