The Southern Trust say plans to cuts to the number of medical beds at Daisy Hill Hospital from 107 to 40 is only one of a number of proposals on the table.
On Tuesday, paediatric A&E nurse Sharon Loughran expressed her ‘deep concern’ for the future of Daisy Hill and questioned “how our hospital can remain viable or can survive for much longer”.
The Trust say they are working with staff on a number of proposals to stabilise staffing over the summer months, one of which includes the reduction of beds, however, it’s an evolving situation.
A spokesperson for the Southern Trust told Armagh I: “From late July we will have only one substantive medical consultant working at Daisy Hill Hospital and this could potentially impact on the number of student doctors we are allocated in August.
“Our initial focus aims to immediately stabilise staffing for the summer months in anticipation of a more permanent solution.
“We have worked with medical staff to develop a number of possible proposals to prevent and reduce inpatient medical admissions by developing more same day emergency care and enhancing community services.
“This will mean a reduction in the number of inpatient beds at the hospital in order to safely look after the number of patients who need medical care with our available workforce. It will also require significant development in community health and social care services, particularly in the Newry and Mourne area, to better ensure that people who don’t need to be in hospital can be appropriately supported at home.
“We continue to develop our proposed models as we receive feedback from both our own staff locally and regional health and social care colleagues who we are working with closely.
“This is a very difficult time for all of our staff but we are encouraged by their enthusiasm to modernise and improve services for patients.”