Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Downpatrick demands equality of health care

The meeting last Wednesday at the Great Hall at Downshire, Downpatrick and attended by hundreds of people of South Down and Mourne, has sent out a clear message to the South Eastern Trust — the downgrading and removal of services in Downpatrick is not up for negotiation.

For too long Downpatrick has been the easy target for cuts to health services.

The people of South Down and Mourne rightly deserve the same acute health services, psychiatric and disability health care as other parts of Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, we do not need well paid senior management officials from the South Eastern Trust showing a powerpoint presentation and a briefing document informing those who attended the ‘consultation' that people are receiving new services at the Downe at the behest of losing other services, expecting people to be very grateful for what we now have in Downpatrick.

It is a basic human right and an equality issue that people locally have the same health services and provision as anywhere else in Northern Ireland. Why should anyone have to drive to other hospitals for health care services when we have a £64m hospital and an excellent medical staff base in place at Downpatrick?

Senior management should now heed the message they were given: no downgrading, no transfer, and certainly no closure of any health, psychiatric or health services in Downpatrick.

Patrick Clarke

Dundrum, Co. Down

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