Newry's Daisy Hill Hospital has been stabilized for the summer, according to the trust

The Southern Health Trust has announced that the inpatient services at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry have been stabilized for the summer. As part of the short-term plan, three senior medical consultants from Craigavon Area Hospital will provide support.

Notably, the appointment of a chief operating officer for Daisy Hill Hospital has been confirmed, along with the acquisition of a temporary MRI scanner. The trust has assured that the hospital’s emergency department will continue to operate around the clock.

During the Southern Health Trust’s board meeting on Thursday, Chief Executive Dr. Maria O’Kane expressed the organization’s objective of identifying a “sustainable way forward” for Daisy Hill Hospital, ensuring the well-being of both patients and staff.

Dr. Maria O’Kane mentioned the trust’s intention to enhance alternatives to inpatient medical admissions when suitable and to enhance patient flow and discharge processes. The Southern Health Trust, in collaboration with the Department of Health, affirmed its commitment to securing the hospital’s long-term sustainability.

During the board meeting, it was assured that there would be no job losses, and efforts were being made to improve the emergency department by adding extra beds.

The hospital, which previously had a capacity of 104 beds, will now operate with approximately 83 beds. Concerns were raised during the meeting about the adequacy of 83 beds when the current occupancy at the hospital stands at 142 beds.

Eddie Curtis, a representative of the campaign group SoS Daisy Hill, expressed dissatisfaction with the plan, stating that it falls short of expectations. He emphasized that the residents of Newry, as well as those in south Down and south Armagh, have endured significant challenges for an extended period of time.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the campaign, stating that they will continue their efforts until they receive complete assurance that the perception of “Daisy Hill is closing” is completely eliminated.

In recent weeks, the staff at Daisy Hill Hospital received notification of additional proposed service modifications, which involve the establishment of a short-stay unit within the emergency department.

While the Southern Health Trust claims that the plans will enhance patient safety, the Daisy Hill Hospital Future Group, a campaign advocating for the preservation of hospital services, argues that the decisions will lead to avoidable fatalities.

Following the withdrawal of the hospital’s stroke service on 31 May, the decision was made to ensure the psychological well-being of the staff, sustain a 24/7 emergency department, and offer local alternatives to hospital admission for patients, as stated by the trust.

Earlier in May, it was reported that several medical staff had concluded their employment at Daisy Hill Hospital.

According to a trust spokesperson, the hospital has faced significant challenges in recruiting and retaining an adequate number of medical staff.



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By Ryan

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