The reopening of Daisy Hill Hospital’s Emergency Department has been postponed until mid October, the Southern Trust has confirmed.
In March, the Department temporarily closed and staff transferred to Craigavon to run a second (Non Respiratory) Emergency Department as part of the Southern Trust response to Covid-19.
Over recent weeks, Trust staff have been working closely with the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group and had planned to reopen the Department on a 24/7 basis by the end of September.
Explaining the delay Melanie McClements, Interim Director of Acute Services for the Trust said: “We know that it is hugely disappointing for our staff and local people that we have to postpone the reopening of the ED.
“However is absolutely vital that we do everything we can to make sure the hospital is as safe as possible before we reopen.
“Our estates team are working hard to make more space in the ED so that we can comply with social distancing requirements. We are creating a bigger waiting area and separate areas inside for paediatrics and to separate respiratory and non respiratory patients.
“We also need time to open more medical beds throughout the hospital for patients admitted from ED, as the risk of COVID means we can no longer accommodate additional medical patients in our surgical ward, as we previously did.
“There are also new ventilation requirements being installed in the High Dependency Unit so that we can treat patients who may be admitted from ED with COVID and our surgical team are working to ensure they can sustain their increased planned work while responding to emergency patients.
“This has been a very complex and challenging process and we hope to reassure local people by putting these additional measures in place.
“We remain committed to reopening the Department as soon as we feel we can safely treat those patients who attend.”
The Trust now plans to reopen the ED on Monday, October 19 and will confirm details in the weeks beforehand.