Newry and Mourne Councils have requested a meeting with Health Minister Edwin Poots to discuss Southern Health Trust proposals to close the stroke unit at Daisy Hill and centralise all stroke services to Craigavon Area Hospital. Last Monday councillors unanimously agreed to support a motion that the council request a meeting with the Health Minister to discuss services at Daisy Hill Hospital. The cross party motion which was brought forward by councillors John McArdle, Mickey Larkin, David Taylor and Jackie Patterson was in response to the Southern Trust’s public consultation period on proposals to centralise stroke and rehabilitation services at Craigavon Area Hospital meaning Daisy Hill Hospital will move its stroke unit. The motion read: “That Newry and Mourne Council request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Health to discuss the future development of existing and future services at Daisy Hill Hospital in light of the announcement by the SHSST to transfer the stroke unit at Daisy Hill to Craigavon Area Hospital. Councillor Henry Reilly expressed his concern that the residents of Kilkeel and Annalong could suffer the most if the stroke unit was ever moved to Criagavon. “My father stayed at the stroke unit and they were quite brilliant when you see the services they provide first hand,” he said. Closing the facility would be a complete tragedy. If someone from Kilkeel or Annalong had to go to Craigavon it would be a nightmare using public transport.” Councillor McArdle explained that the retention of Daisy Hill’s stroke unit is detrimental to the future,” of the Newry area while Councillor Taylor said, “It is clear that Daisy Hill is vital to this district.” Slieve Gullion councillor Mickey Larkin added, “Our approach would be to support the retention of Daisy Hill’s stroke unit. The unit there is award winning and provides the greatest care for the people of Newry and Mourne. I spoke to a number of staff there and none of them said that the movement of the unit would be beneficial for the area if we dismantle the stroke unit.” Independent councillor Davy Hyland expressed his concern that Newry Services were being taken away “Bit by bit. We are supposed to have city status but bit by bit these services are being taken away,” said Mr Hyland. It is worrying and depressive curbage. This area is losing out. We need to come together and make sure this can’t continue.
15th July 2014