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”.
As health and care services across Northern Ireland become stretched beyond capacity, Workers Party Newry and Armagh spokesperson, Nicola Campbell, has called for an ‘immediate reversal of the policy of bed closures’
“In the last ten years the number of hospital beds in Northern Ireland has dropped by 10%. In the Belfast area, where all the major regional services are based, the figure is a staggering 20%”. Nicola said.
“Locally, the number of hospital beds available in the Southern Trust dropped to a low of 813 a few years ago. That figure has improved slightly but is still well short of the 997 beds available in this area a decade ago”.
“This did not happen by chance. It is the result of successive Ministers for Health and the Assembly cutting back on health service funding and investment. The outcome is that people are dying while they wait for inpatient treatment. In the past five years that figure is in the region of 22,000 deaths”, stated Nicola
“Everyone should have the right to treatment and care. It should be free at the point of delivery and should be centrally funded and centrally planned. These principles are being increasingly undermined and put at risk.
Health and care is a human right and the only way to ensure that our NHS is not run into the ground and then handed over to private companies is for the right to public health and care services to be enshrined in a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights that will provide protection and guarantees for the service, for staff and for citizens”, Nicola concluded.