Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Downpatrick needs acute services back now

As someone who attended the South Eastern Trust board meeting (News, November 25), I found the way the trust conducted the meeting on the future of healthcare services in Downpatrick nothing short of disgraceful.

It was shameful and shocking to witness people being pushed and manhandled as they were trying to enter the meeting. The way people were refused entry shows the trust had no regard or respect for those wishing to hear its verdict.

The decision to downgrade services at A-amp;E and to transfer acute inpatient mental health services away from Downpatrick illustrates the trust's plan and intention for centralisation. The trust has clearly not listened to the general public during the consultation process and have effectively denied the people of Down and Mourne the same frontline healthcare services as other parts of Northern Ireland.

The trust is removing and downgrading these services against widespread public opposition. It has virtually ignored political lobbying to ensure the town maintains proper healthcare. The decision breaches the human rights of the people of Down and Mourne who deserve the same services as Lisburn or Belfast.

The trust should admit they have made a monumental mistake and the public should continue its fight for the future security of the Downe Hospital. The trust's non-executive board should reverse their decision immediately.

PATRICK CLARKE

Dundrum, Co Down

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