Local TD Gerry Adams has welcomed confirmation from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust that there will be no reduction in Emergency Department provision at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.
Last month concerns were raised that the A&E department at the Northern Irish hospital were set to close following the discussion of temporary overnight closures due to staff shortages.
Sinn Féin president Adams said as well as having an impact on those in the South Armagh and Down areas, this would also have a detrimental impact on healthcare provision in Co Louth due to the amount of people from this area who use Daisy Hill.
The hospital is just 23.8km from Dundak town centre, as opposed to the 35km to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
However, on Saturday Adams received assurances that the A&E would not be closing, news which he welcomed as a “victory for local communities.”
He said: “I received written confirmation from Francis Rice, the interim Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, which stated that ‘sufficient support has been secured from sister Trusts to stabilise Daisy Hill for the foreseeable future’.
“While I welcome this news I will be monitoring developments to ensure the permanent retention of all services, including 24 hour emergency department cover.
“I applaud those members of the community who successfully challenged the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s plans for temporary overnight closures. I have no doubt that in the absence of such community resistance overnight closures would have been an inevitability and would have led to other services being lost at the hospital.
“Full retention of all healthcare services at Daisy Hill is vital, primarily for citizens living in the Armagh, Newry and South Down areas, but also for people from North Louth and parts of County Monaghan who access treatment at the hospital.
The Sinn Féin president continued: “I am also heartened that the Southern Health and Social Care Trust has restated its commitment to the cross border Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT) project which benefits a significant number of people from Louth to access services such as ENT, Urology and Vascular treatments as well as Kidney Dialysis.
“I will be working with my Sinn Féin colleagues in Newry Armagh and South Down towards the enhancement of cross border cooperation in healthcare which makes sense for border residents.”