Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has welcomed news of a package of funding which should enable the Emergency Department at Newry’s Daisy Hill hospital to remain open 24 hours.
The South Belfast MLA said: “The presence of a permanent emergency department in an area the size of Newry should never have been in question in the first place.
“This issue has served as another example of the importance of workforce planning across the service. In too many instances services are at risk not because of budgets, but because workers cannot be found. In some cases, such as this one, this is because there is a perception that the transformation programme is putting a service at risk when this is not in fact the case.
“I myself was happy to visit the hospital and to endorse the local campaign the maintain emergency service provision. We cannot escape the fact, however, that a functioning Health Committee at Stormont providing proper scrutiny of this case would have ensured the issue was resolved sooner. I am happy also to see the establishment of the admissions and assessment unit, which should ease the burden on those working directly in the emergency department.
“The transformation programme and the challenge of maintaining services during reform are too important not to have democratic oversight. It is long past time we got back to work ensuring that vital services are never again endangered in this way.”