Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has called on the Department of Health and the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) to abandon plans to centralise local acute psychiatry services away from Downpatrick to Belfast.
The South Down MP said:
“Our local acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit located at the Downe Hospital is a vitally important service for some of our most vulnerable local patients.
“Since opening in 2009, this modern new facility has been a real lifeline for so many people locally who benefited greatly – not only from its modern facilities and first class healthcare – but from the fact that it is located locally in our community.
“The South Eastern Health Trust have now submitted plans to close this local facility and centralise the acute services in Belfast.
“This is a retrograde step for local healthcare in the South Down area and should be actively opposed by all.
“I have today written to the Health Minister Robin Swann, and the SEHSCT, to call on them to abandon these regressive plans and support local acute healthcare for our local community.
“On the back of the recent failure of the Health Department and the SEHSCT to restore the A&E at the Downe Hospital as previously promised, this decision will only exacerbate the growing sense of anger and frustration within our local community that those in charge of health care delivery are proactively working against the needs of our local community.”