There have been calls by the Department of Health and the Southern Trust to clarify what exactly their plans are for Daisy Hill hospital. Concern about the future of the hospital has been building ever since it was revealed that a leaked Southern Trust document contained proposals to move some services out of Daisy Hill into new Community Treatment and Care Centres (CTCC). Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said any discussion about the future of Daisy Hill should be open and transparent. “What surprises me about this project is that the public and their representatives have been kept in the dark about it and that of course leads one to wonder if here is an attempt to advance it under the radar – for what ever reason,” he said. “My fear is that services will be moved from Daisy Hill and that the new centre may impact upon the hospital. Before welcoming the project I would want to see much more of the detail and be completely certain that it in no way puts the future of our hospital at risk.” Doctor Arnie McDowell a Newry GP and member of the British Medical Association (BMA) said the plans had raised a number of concerns. The first thing to say is that all the GPs in the Newry Health Centre are very supportive of Daisy Hill and we would be very concerned if any plans being discussed had an adverse affect on the hospital,” he said. Ever since the Compton Report the overall strategy for health care in Northern Ireland seems to be one of moving certain services out of hospitals and into the community and while there is some potentially some merit in that I would have a number of concerns. For example if certain services are moved to primary care where will the extra personnel and space come from to deal with the increased number of patients? Right now Newry Healthh Centre has no issues in that regard but a sudden increase in patient numbers will require more personnel and space that the centre can currently offer.” Both the Department of Health (DHSSPS) and the Southern Trust have said the proposals are in the long-term interest in the community. “The proposals are based on the creation of accessible community based care that provides support to people as close to home as possible,” a spokesman said. ” The development of community services will allow patients to be treated outside a hospital setting, reducing attendances, improving waiting times for those who need specialist care and to make all services more accessible to local communities. The proposed changes will have a minimum impact on hospital services which provide a specialist service to acutely ill patients. The Trust’s proposals are still at an early stage and are part of the long term development across the Southern Trust which will ensure safe, sustainable, quality services that meet the health and social needs of our local populations.” A DHSSPS spokesperson echoed the Trust’s claims. “The Newry Health and Care Centre project will assist in modernising primary care services in the area and will provide a base from which integrated primary and community services including those delivered by GPs can be delivered,” a spokesman said.
22nd May 2012