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Downpatrick deserves the best of healthcare

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust's proposals for future healthcare provision in Downpatrick at the new Downe and Downshire are worrying.

The proposed reduced A&E service between 10pm and 8pm, the removal of psychiatric intensive care services from Downpatrick to Lisburn and significant changes to learning and physical disability services need to be rejected totally.

The 'drip, drip' feed by the South Eastern Trust that the proposals will not have an impact on frontline health services in Downpatrick is a gross misrepresentation of the implications ahead should these proposals be eventually rubber-stamped.

There can be no doubt that the proposals will affect frontline health services across south Down and Mourne.

The chief executive's assertion that the creation of a centre of excellence in Lisburn, as opposed to Downpatrick, will enable the SET to concentrate hospital services on one site and develop community services is absurd. Downpatrick could as easily house the same centre of excellence as Lisburn.

Senior management of the SET need to put the health and wellbeing first of the people before financial cutbacks to frontine services in Downpatrick.

Any cutting or downgrading is a steady erosion in Downpatrick; it must not happen. Politicians need to step up to the mark and deliver on preventing the SET from making these draconian proposals a reality. Downpatrick needs - and should rightly have - the same healthcare services as every other hospital.


Dundrum, Co Down


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