Local political representatives have welcomed news that Daisy Hill Emergency Department is planning to re-open in September. The Emergency Department was closed in March due to Covid 19 and the public have been calling for its reopening in recent weeks.

MLA Justin McNulty  has welcomed significant commitments from the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust on the future of Daisy Hill Hospital during a Zoom Meeting this week.  Mr McNulty led a delegation of SDLP representatives from across Newry and Armagh to meet with the Chief Executive on Thursday morning.

Mr McNulty said, ‘Daisy Hill is an outstanding hospital and whilst some of its services have been temporarily paused in the battle against Covid19, I am assured that works are well underway to fully reboot services as soon as practically possible.  The Chief Executive was able to confirm he has submitted proposals to the Department of Health which would see services recommissioned right across the Southern Trust over the next three months.  This includes every part of our health and social care sector.  The Chief Executive was also able to confirm that it is his plan to open the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill at the earliest opportunity in that three month cycle.’

‘The rebooting of services at Daisy Hill Hospital is key to tacking what I fear will be the hidden consequences of this pandemic - the missed opportunity for prompt treatment of those who were displaying symptoms of illnesses but who stayed away from the health and social care system during the pandemic because of fear of contracting Covid19.’

‘What’s more I believe it would be a strong signal to the people of Newry, South Armagh and South Down that their acute hospital is an integral part of our health and social care system.  People need reassured that their hospital and its services, including the Emergency Department, are not going to be under any form of threat as we move out of this pandemic.’

‘I am also pleased that the Chief Executive was able to confirm that an outline business case has been signed off by the Southern Trust and has been submitted to the Minister and Department for approval which would see the Trust acquire the current Council Offices at Monaghan Row.  This is another signal that the trust are committed to Newry and its people.  By the Trust’s own admission they are bursting at the seams in Daisy Hill and they need more space to accommodate the growing suite of services on offer, as well as more car-parking in the vicinity of the hospital.’

‘These works will not happen overnight and I will continue to press the Minister for Health and his department on the need to respond urgently and positively to the request.  This will form part of a major capital investment plan, which will see a new five storey block on the hospital site, the refurbishment of the current hospital along with additional car parking provision.  This is what Newry needs, this is what Newry deserves and I want to see a detailed timeline on ediwhen it will be delivered.’

 Vital Service

Newry and Armagh Alliance representative Jackie Coade has also welcomed the news. 

Speaking on the issue Ms Caode said “I want to reiterate my support for Daisy Hill Hospital and I along with the rest of Newry and surrounding areas are delighted to hear that the Southern Trust intend to reopen the Emergency Department no later than September. Daisy Hill Hospital provides a vital service to the people of Newry and Armagh and surrounding areas. The Emergency Department at Daisy Hill provides a key role in the local community and is important to saving lives and considering timeframes it was never going to be ideal to travelling that extra distance to Craigavon Hospital especially in times of critical need.

"In regards to Covid 19 we are certainly not out of the woods just yet and we cannot get complacent. However with the number of Covid cases now in decline it is important that the Southern Trust makes the necessary arrangements to return to some kind of normal in order to get vital medical services back up and running in a safe manner.”

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