Board members from Southern Trust are meeting today to discuss the Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department crisis and the potential for "temporary" suspension of services at night.

On-going efforts to ensure a safe, sustainable Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital will be discussed at the meeting of the Southern Health and Social Services Trust Board today (Thursday 13 April).

Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department is under strain. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department is under strain. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The meeting will update Trust Board members on the on-going efforts to secure a regional approach to safely maintaining the Department on a 24/7 basis in light of the on-going staffing challenges. 

As the service remains vulnerable at night due to the shortage of permanent senior medical staff, contingency arrangements will be outlined to ensure patients can continue to access safe, high quality care in the unfortunate event that medical cover could not be secured for more than one night. 

Therefore, the Board will be asked to approve preparations in Craigavon Area Hospital to accommodate an additional flow of patients should the service in Daisy Hill be temporarily suspended at night. This would be a last resort and the Trust is continuing to make every effort to avoid any temporary reduction in hours in the short term. There will be no permanent changes to any services without a full and comprehensive public consultation and engagement with local communities.

The Trust Board will continue to meet as necessary to review the situation in Daisy Hill Hospital and to seek assurance that all options are being explored.