‘We help our members grow through a variety of networking opportunities.’

Anger over Daisy Hill rumours

Political representatives from across Newry and Mourne have slammed media speculation that Daisy Hill hospital is to be downgraded. Health Minister Edwin Poots received John Compton’s Review of Health and Social Care Services just yesterday. Yet as early as last week a number of media outlets were speculating that the HSC Review would call for the downgrading of Daisy Hill. John Compton chair of the HSC Review Team said that any claims made by the media regarding the review were purely speculative. “In undertaking its work the HSC Review Team has been conscious of a need to fulfil its role with complete fairness and without prejudice to any individual, organisation or sectional interest,” he said. “In discharging its role it has also met with a wide range of interest groups, organisations and individuals to hear their views. The HSC Review Team would therefore urge everyone with an interest in its work to await its conclusions and not to dwell on speculation. When the process is complete and the minister has made his decisions a full consultation with the public will be carried out on any major reconfiguration of services.” At a meeting of the Health Service Working Group in Newry and Mourne Council last Thursday (November 22) political representatives used stronger language to condemn the speculation. ” I am extremely angry at the way this unfounded speculation has been handled by the media,” said Councillor Turlough Murphy. “I was in Daisy Hill the other night and both staff and patients are totally demoralised. What we need regarding this review is responsible reporting, not sensationalist front page headlines claiming that the hospital is going to close. We don’t know what is in this report and speculating is not only irresponsible but dangerous. When a review of the Mourne Hospital was being carried out rumours like this began to circulate and staff left. By the time the review was actually completed the hospital had too close because so many people had left. Not only that but we have a much needed consultant coming over from England to work in Daisy Hill and if he gets word of this he made decide not to come at all. What’s needed now is steady heads, we need to get this report examine it and go forward from there. If we need to put up a  fight over this review then we will give them a fight but rumour and panic help nobody.” Following Mr Murphy’s remarks to the working group Councillor Brendan Curran blasted what he described as “scare mongering reporting” while Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy called on the group to await the report and continue with its “positive agenda for Daisy Hill.” Chair of the Health Service Working Group Councillor John McArdle called on all parties to work together. “What we need is a collective voice from the council,” he said. “There have been suggestions of Daisy Hill closing for the past 10 or 15 years. This is something all parties can agree on. We need a united front to oppose any dilution of services. We don’t know what’s in this report but it does no harm to be prepared.”


Newry Democrat

29th November 2011