Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has said tonight’s confirmation that the Department of Health has backed the South Eastern Health Trust’s decision to abandon the promised restoration of the A&E department at the Downe Hospital is completely unacceptable.
The South Eastern Trust, and the Health Minister Robin Swann, had publicly committed to restoring the A&E at the Downe Hospital by the 19th October, however these plans have now been dropped, instead the Trust will open an ‘Urgent Care Centre’ at the Downe from the 19th October.
The South Down MP said:
“In recent months the Health Minister Robin Swann made several public commitments that rural communities would be consulted if the Department wanted to make changes to the delivery model of emergency care. Yet today the Minister gave his approval for the South Eastern Trust to abandon plans to restore the A&E department at the Downe Hospital with no consultation with staff.
“This is completely unacceptable and the Minister must immediately reverse this decision and begin a genuine consultation with the local community on the restoration of vital emergency services. This process can only be successful if it involves the local community, staff, trade unions and local political representatives so we can help meet the needs of the local area.
“I have now written to the Minister tonight and requested an urgent meeting in light of this unacceptable decision.”