WHILE it may be much closer to another acute hospital than the SWAH, the current fate of Daisy Hill in Newry provides a worrying glimpse into the potential future of the Enniskillen hospital.
Aside from geographical location, the similarities between the two hospitals is remarkable, with Daisy Hill just a little further down the road in its journey than the SWAH.
In February last year the Southern Trust announced it was temporarily removing emergency general surgery from the Newry hospital due to a lack of available surgeons. At the same time – just like the SWAH – Daisy Hill was also selected to be a centre of excellence for elective care.
Last week the Southern Trust board passed a motion to make this temporary suspension of the service permanent, and said it would be opening a public consultation on the plan in April.
Speaking to the Herald on Monday, Francis Gallagher from the Daisy Hill Action Group said they were preparing a campaign to fight the plan, and had called a public meeting at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry for February 6th. In a sentiment that will now more than familiar locally, Mr Gallagher, pictured, said, “The Southern Trust are saying they don’t have enough general surgeons and therefore they need to centralise emergency general surgery in Craigavon.
“Our concern is this elective hub has been used as a Trojan horse to take away emergency general surgery. They are using that as a trade off.“This is the most dangerous threat yet to our hospital.”
Noting the similar narratives from the Western and Southern Trusts – that they cannot sustain emergency surgery but are keen to promote elective surgery – Mr Gallagher said patients in Fermanagh and Newry were “paying the price for years of neglect by the Stormont Executive for not training enough surgeo ns.”
“The Stormont Executive needs to be radically reformed, it’s not accountable to the public and the Department of Health is not accountable to the public.”
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