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Call to reopen Southern Trust Out Of Hours services as young mums worry

Cllr says young mums are turning up to A&E instead of being looked after by out of hours GP that has closed

Out of Hours

A Mournes councillor has urged for an out-of-hours GP service to reopen as young mothers in south Down attend A&E with concerns for their babies.

The Southern Trust closed three of its urgent out-of-hours GP services including Kilkeel, Armagh, and South Tyrone at the end of July.

A Trust spokesperson had said it was to be on a temporary basis until at least the end of August when a review would be carried out.

However, at the start of November, the only out-of-hours service in the Trust remains at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area hospitals.

Mournes councillor, Henry Reilly (DUP) has raised his concerns for worried parents, during a special meeting with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Southern Trust.

He said: “When is Kilkeel out of hours going to be reinstated?

“I know myself of doctors in the Mournes willing to provide the service, so all that leaves is the need for a secretary.

“There are people arriving up to A&E when it is already overcrowded, contributing further to waiting times including young mums attending with children presenting with respiratory problems.

“There should be access to a local pharmacy for out-of-hours prescriptions when an antibiotic is all that is needed instead of contributing to the overcrowding at A&E.

“Out of hours is a useful service and hopefully we can look to the future when it will reopen its services.

Southern Trust, director of adult community services, Brian Beattie responded: “Kilkeel out of hours has been closed only on a temporary basis due to lack of sufficient staff.

“I would only be too delighted to hear that there are people willing to work there.

“There had been no one available to be at the out-of-hours base every night, but house visits have not been impacted.

“There is good access to Daisy Hill for Kilkeel people in times of difficulty.

“There will be a regional review very soon of care and out of hours service.”

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