Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan has submitted an urgent oral question to the Assembly following an announcement that the Health Minister has backed plans by the South Eastern Health Trust to downgrade the Downe Hospital’s A&E to an ‘Urgent Care Centre’.
The South Down MLA said:
“I have submitted an urgent oral question to the Assembly asking Health Minister Robin Swann to specify if he engaged with any staff, Trade Unions, community groups or political representatives before agreeing to downgrade the Downe A&E to an ‘Urgent Care Centre’.
“The seeming lack of engagement by the Health Minister before making this decision on a vital resource within our community is appalling and completely unacceptable.
“It is hugely frustrating that the South Eastern Health Trust have decided to jettison plans to restore A&E at the Downe next week, instead opting for an Urgent Care Centre based on ‘Appointment Only’ entrance for local patients.
“This is not the type of emergency care the local community require. This proposed plan is wholly inadequate and unacceptable.
“The Department of Health and the Southern Eastern Health Trust have had seven months to plan effectively for the return of our Emergency Department at the Downe.
“The failure to adequately plan within this period has once has again brought into question the Department of Health and South Eastern Health Trust’s commitment to the Downe Hospital and our local healthcare staff.”