The news that Daisy Hill Hospital is to provide regional elective surgery services has been welcomed by Workers Party spokesperson Nicola Grant, but she has also called for immediate clarification on the future of general surgery at the hospital.
“While today’s announcement, of a planned surgery hub, secures the future of Daisy Hill Hospital and hopefully attracts further regional specialities to the area there remains a very serious question mark over the future of general surgery services, suspended at the start if the year and ‘ temporarily ‘ transferred to Craigavon” Nicola said.
She also called on the Health Minister to publish the overall plan for the future of health and care services arguing that the drip feeding of information and announcements in installments is undermining public and staff confidence.
“Let’s see the full set of plans now”, Nicola said ” and allow the public and health and care staff to evaluate them in the round”.
“The uncertainty which has been created around the future of emergency surgery at Daisy Hill Hospital is adding to an already intolerable situation”. Nicola Grant of the Workers Party has said.
“Like many local people, I am seriously concerned that we are witnessing the downgrading of the hospital by stealth”, she said.
“I have written to the Southern Trust Board and posed 5 Questions which, if answered, would at least shed more light on Daisy Hill’s future and the services that will be available locally. It would also allow for a more informed and focussed discussion”.
The Five Questions
1. What is your long term vision for Daisy Hill? Do you have a plan that you are prepared to share with us?
2. How temporary is ‘temporary‘? When will you be proposing to review the current situation?
3 Are you committed to providing emergency surgery at Daisy Hill Hospital or have you already taken a decision to move it off site?
4 Are you prepared to publish details of your recruitment strategy to enlist additional surgeons?
5. What plans have you to conduct a public consultation exercise to take the views of the public into account?
“We are talking about the very future of Daisy Hill and local hospital services”, Nicola said “the public has an unquestionable right to know exactly what is being planned, why and to have a meaningful involvement in those discussions”, she said
“Local healthcare should always be safe, of the highest quality and be professionally delivered – but it must also be accessible”, says Workers Party representative in Newry / Armagh, Nicola Grant.
“There is considerable public concern over the announcement that emergency surgery will no longer be performed at Daisy Hill Hospital”, she said
“We have heard promises of ‘temporary’ changes before and they have nearly always proven to be permanent. That cannot be allowed to happen this time. Every time there is a reduction in service there is an automatic suspicion that it forms part of the privatisation agenda”, Nicola said.
“It looks like the Southern Trust thinks it can use an administrative solution to address a very human problem”.
“This ‘temporary ‘arrangement and any subsequent reconfiguration of services will mean local patients requiring urgent surgery could face a journey of over an hour to Craigavon”, Nicola added.
“I have been in contact the Southern Trust calling on them to review and reverse their decision and to bring forward proposals for securing emergency surgery at Daisy Hill”, Nicola concluded.