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Elective surgery has been postponed at Daisy Hill Hospital Endoscopy Unit following its closure on Wednesday in order to re-deploy workers to the ICU Department at Craigavon Hospital.

Speaking of his concerns and the fact it would cause hardship for people, Armagh MP Mickey Brady Said "This has caused great concern among staff and patients as the Endoscopy Unit helps to detect serious conditions such as bowel, and throat cancer as well as other serious conditions some of which can become terminal if not detected early”.

Daisy Hill Hospital. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Daisy Hill Hospital. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Mr Brady has contacted senior management with the Southern  Health and Social Care Trust and added “The Trust have written to me to outline their decision to cease elective surgeries. It has stated that over  the last few weeks it has seen a very significant surge in the number of cases of COVID-19 in the community and in their hospitals.  This surge the Trust states  has brought additional challenges due to staff sickness and isolation measures and it currently has more than 500 staff off work for COVID-19 related reasons.

 “The Trust states that ‘ Planned surgery procedures across a range of specialties have been postponed which has enabled staff to be available for redeployment to assist in areas of greatest need like the Intensive Care Unit.  We will do everything possible to reschedule cancelled surgery over the coming weeks’

The Newry and Armagh MP said "This will cause further hardship to many individuals, their families and carers. There is a genuine fear that the longer their procedures are put aside the more likely conditions will become significant issues and irreversible”.

Concluding the MP said that he would continue to liaise with senior Trust management in relation to the issue and urged them to resume procedures as a quickly as possible.

 “People can't wait forever for care. They need blood tests and scans, they need their conditions reviewed and new problems dealt with.

It is inevitable that the NHS will need to upscale its capacity to be able to tackle this challenge and get on top of waiting lists, particularly given that, there will be a need to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals for some time yet”

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