Concerns mount that health trust may justify Emergency Department closure on grounds of inability to recruit consultants
Union warns against sleight-of-hand attempt to close facility through ‘temporary closure’ announcement, meaning no public consultation
March 30th: Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for Health and Social Care workers has demanded the retention of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill hospital following a press statement by the Southern HSCT casting a shadow over the facility’s future:
“Unite the union stands opposed to any diminution of facilities at Daisy Hill hospital. Today’s statement by the Southern HSCT will send a shudder of fear into the local community in that area who know that this is likely the precursor to a decision to close the Emergency Department in that hospital.
“HSC trusts justify decisions to close facilities on the basis of an inability to recruit the requisite staff but there is a strong sense that these are manufactured crises which enable the Trusts to make decisions that are known to be strongly opposed locally. The loss of regional Emergency Departments has more to do with implementing austerity budgets than either objective medical needs or the difficulty in recruiting consultants.
“Unite would be very concerned that a decision to close this facility could be taken forward under cover of a temporary closure. This avoids the need for consultation and would present a de facto closure to undermine potential local opposition. The timing of this recruitment ‘crisis’ also coincides with the absence of locally-accountable government – which raises serious concerns among staff involved.
“As Britain’s and Ireland’s largest union, Unite welcomed the commitment to co-production of health reform and we engaged in this process in good faith. Sleight of hand announcements like this cut across such a participative and empowering approach to improving our health and social care service. Instead of engineering crises, the HSC trusts would be better engaging with staff representative bodies and the local communities to determine the most sustainable approaches to healthcare provision”, Mr McAdam finished.