The departure of a consultant from the emergency department at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry will place even more pressure on an already fragile service, according to a local MLA.
And the revelation has led to deep concerns over the future of the 24-hour consultant cover at the hospital.
Mr Bradley said they had become aware over recent months of the shortage in consultants in the emergency department at Daisy Hill and the need to recruit the appropriately trained staff.
The party has raised concerns about the potential impact of the shortage before and warned that it could see the operation hours reduced, potentially closing at night.
Mr Bradley said: “As if this wasn’t concerning enough, this week I learned that a consultant in the emergency department has advised the Southern Trust that he is to leave his post in February. This news is deeply concerning and will place even more pressure on an already fragile service.
“We sought an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of the Southern Trust to put our concerns directly to her. We pressed the Chief Executive on recruitment plans and have sought assurances that plans will be in place to ensure that a 24/7 service is retained at Daisy Hill emergency department.
Local Representative Justin McNulty added: “Daisy Hill Hospital and it’s emergency department is a vital resource for the local community. We witnessed thousands of people on the streets last year as we protested against the attack on Stroke Services at Daisy Hill.
“Consultant cover is a vital part of the operational cover in any emergency department and the Southern Trust have been struggling to recruit additional consultants already. This development is another blow to the service locally.
“We need to see the Southern Trust put in place plans to ensure the 24/7 service is retained at Daisy Hill emergency department, even if that means moving consultants from other sites or elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
“We will continue our engagement with the Chief Executive and her team at the Trust to ensure this vital service is protected. Dominic Bradley and I have requested a meeting with the Minister on this issue.
“We need to see the Trust, the Department and ultimately the Minister Simon Hamilton ensure that the emergency department at Daisy Hill is retained into the future on a full time and permanent basis.”
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