Belfast Telegraph

Funding is vital for future of Daisy Hill

By Lisa Smyth

The Department of Health has announced additional funding for Daisy Hill Hospital and GP services in Northern Ireland.

At first glance, it might seem difficult to understand how extra money for the emergency department at Daisy Hill will help to ensure its future.

The threat to the unit, after all, has come from a difficulty in recruiting and retaining consultants to work there.

However, in making this announcement, the Department of Health is signalling its commitment to the emergency department and, in doing so, consultants who were reticent about taking up a post at an under-threat department might now be more likely to give it serious consideration.

Meanwhile, GP services have received another cash boost to help overstretched family doctors manage their workload.

While the extra money must be welcomed, it is likely to be regarded as a slap in the face by community pharmacists across Northern Ireland.

More than half of the money is going towards the Practice Based Pharmacist scheme, but this investment comes at the same time community pharmacists campaign for an emergency rescue package for high street chemists across Northern Ireland.

Community Pharmacy NI (CPNI), the representative body of local pharmacists here, has called for the Department of Health's Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly to act but to date, there has been no movement. CPNI has warned that high street chemists are facing closure which will result in even more patients turning to GPs and A&Es for treatment.

The health budget is not finite and difficult decisions must be made, but in doing so you have to make sure you aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Belfast Telegraph

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