Daisy Hill hospital in Newry will lose its capacity to provide emergency general surgery.
Health Minister Robin Swann this morning (Wednesday) announced that Daisy Hill Hospital will be an Elective Overnight Stay Centre, caring for patients who require at least one night in hospital after surgery.
Emergency surgery had been halted at Daisy Hill at the end of February.
Elective Overnight Stay Centres are being established as part of the reorganisation of general surgery services. The Mater Hospital in Belfast was announced as the first of these new facilities in June. Daisy Hill Hospital has now been designated as the second.
Elective surgery involves planned operations and treatments. Elective Overnight Stay Centres will treat patients who are intermediate complexity cases and need overnight care. They will focus on general surgery, but will include other specialties.
The Health Minister described it as “very good news for Daisy Hill Hospital”.
“In addition to providing its existing wide range of services already, it will now become a vibrant Elective Overnight Stay Centre providing planned care not just for its local population but also for the region. Surgeons and patients alike will travel to Daisy Hill from different parts of Northern Ireland.
“The development of Elective Overnight Stay Centres is a key proposal in the Review of General Surgery which I published in June. Daisy Hill Hospital will not be the last of these facilities. I can confirm that the Department and Western Health and Social Care Trust are working on proposals for a similar centre at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
“Today’s announcement on Daisy Hill underlines my commitment to making the best use of our hospital network and ensuring all our hospitals have a sustainable and vitally important place in that network.”
Elective Overnight Stay Centres are part of a wider health care reform initiative, involving dedicated hubs for planned surgeries and procedures.