The lack of a functioning Assembly is “having an impact” on ongoing problems at the accident and emergency department at Daisy Hill hospital in Newry, a DUP MLA has said.
Contingency plans in case the overnight closure of Daisy Hill A&E is forced by staff shortages are being put in place. The Southern Health and Social Care Trust are seeking to invest further in the Craigavon A&E, something DUP MLA William Irwin said “sends very mixed and concerning messages to the people of Newry”.
Mr Irwin believes Sinn Féin must take some blame for the current state of affairs.
He said: “I have no doubt that the lack of a functioning Assembly is having an impact on this issue and I also remain concerned that decisions are being taken and will continue to be taken by the department without the approval or input of elected representatives and that should concern everyone.
“It must be noted that the former Health minister’s party is the current obstacle to permitting an Assembly from recommencing and that has not been lost on the people of my constituency of Newry and Armagh.”
The DUP MLA continued: “For the trust to seek to invest further in the Craigavon A&E in order to prepare for increased admissions should the Daisy Hill facility have to be temporarily suspended, sends very mixed and concerning messages to the people of Newry and further afield who would ultimately use Daisy Hill as their nearest A&E facility. It gives no reassurance of sustainability of services and I have concerns about the direction of the Department on this issue especially as Craigavon A&E is under great pressure.”
Mr Irwin added: “Patient safety is indeed paramount in the consideration of the ongoing difficulties surrounding securing permanent A&E doctors at the hospital. However, it is also paramount that the Trust exhausts every avenue in trying to secure this permanent cover. The two issues are interlinked. The A&E at Daisy Hill must be protected.”