Trust u-turn a major victory for people power but campaign must continue and remain vigilant
Southern Health Trust must now answer questions about their support for wider health service provision in Daisy Hill
May 3rd: Unite Regional Officer Kevin McAdam welcomed the commitment made in a statement by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust yesterday [Tuesday, May 2nd] to the long-term continuation of a 24-7 Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital.
“Yesterday’s u-turn represents a tremendous victory for the people power campaign to demand the retention of the A&E at Daisy Hill. The Trust has committed themselves to the long-term retention of a 24-7 Emergency Department at the Hospital. This is the outcome we campaigned for but no more than common sense. There never was any justification to downgrade A&E provision in Newry considering demographic trends as well as the geographical realities of its catchment.
“While campaigners and the wider community are right to welcome the announcement, it is important that we remain vigilant. This is only round one. As yet, the resources necessary to underpin this decision have not been committed – it is vital that we maintain the pressure on the SHSCT board to ensure follow-through.
“Unite is seeking clarity on the future of the fracture unit at Daisy Hill as well as a full response to the allegations raised by Dr Duffin directly with the chair of the Board”, Mr McAdam finished.
Also welcoming the announcement, Martin McKeown, secretary of Unite’s Newry Community branch who played a lead role in the campaign said:
“While this u-turn by the Board is very welcome, in the past the Trust has made similar declarations only to strip support services undermining provision in the long-run. We need clarity on these detailed issues and a long-term commitment to Daisy Hill retaining all its services.
“This success was delivered only through mass mobilisation and a well-organised campaign. Only such pressure could compel politicians to become active on the issue and force the Trust to do what was right.
“Newry Unite community branch will be meeting with the Save Our Emergency Department Committee as well as other active Trade Unionists in the coming days to formulate ideas and coordinate in order to keep the pressure on so as to secure the long-term future of Daisy Hill”, Mr McKeown concluded.