Daisy Hill A&E in Newry to remain 24-hour service after crisis summit held
Daisy Hill Hospital's emergency department will remain a 24-hr service, the Southern Health Trust has announced following a regional summit with the Department of Health.
The crunch meeting came after warnings that the department may temporarily close overnight due to staff shortages.
The summit was attended by staff from the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency, Belfast Trust, the Ambulance Service, the NI Medical and Dental Training Agency and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.
The Department of Health said all parties agreed that it should be retained because of the "clinical need" and "projected population growth".
A Departmental spokesperson said: "All attendees at the summit agreed with the Department that in light of the clinical need, current size and projected growth of the population of Newry and Mourne, acute services need to be retained there.
"Work on achieving that regional approach, in a safe and sustainable way, will now gather pace.
"This immediate pressure on emergency services in Daisy Hill is further evidence of the need for transformation in the provision of health and social care and the future planning of those services at a Northern Ireland level.
"That work also continues, in line with the principles set out in, ‘Delivering Together’ document, launched last October."
Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady welcomed the news but said more work is needed to secure the future of the service in the long term.
The Newry and Armagh MP said: "Today's announcement from the regional health summit that sustainable emergency services will remain in place at the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill hospital for the foreseeable future is welcome.
"This summit was brought together after Sinn Fein met with the head of the civil service and asked to get the Department of Health to intervene with the Southern Trust to address the problems.
"While the announcement is welcome, there is still a need for a longer term solution to the problems at Daisy Hill as there are still concerns over fracture clinics and orthopaedic services so the campaign for Daisy Hill must continue.
"Sinn Fein will continue to engage with the Trust, staff, health authorities, unions and user groups to ensure first-class health service provision for the local community."