Ritchie lobbies on A&E closure

Downe Hospital
Downe Hospital

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has urged the Stormont health committee to press for intervention on accident and emergency services in her constituency.

Ms Ritchie is pressing for restoration of weekend A&E at the Downe Hospital, Downpatrick.

Weekend A&E services have been withdrawn there and at Lagan Valley due to a shortage of relevant doctors.

The MP said yesterday: “Over the past week we have witnessed a deepening crisis in A&E in various parts of Northern Ireland.

“In south Down we have seen the temporary withdrawal of weekend A&E provision at the Downe Hospital – a precipitous and cavalier decision taken by the South Eastern Trust without prior consultation with the community.”

She added: “In such circumstances, I would urge the Assembly’s health committee to immediately make the regional challenges facing accident and emergency provision their number one priority and in doing so push the minister to intervene to ensure the restoration of weekend A&E at the Downe Hospital.”