Justin McNulty has pressed the Southern Trust for continued investment in the health service locally at a meeting on Fridy.
Mr McNulty, along with the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley, met with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Chief Executive Mairead McAlinden and her soon to be successor Paula Clarke.
The former All-Ireland winner who is seeking to represent Newry and Armagh at Westminster, said: “Health care, be it Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, the Minor Injuries Unit in Armagh, home care services in the community and getting access to local GP services, are major issues of concern to local people.
“These are just some of the issues we discussed with Mrs McAlinden and Mrs Clarke and I will continue to engage with them in the weeks and months ahead.
“Daisy Hill has seen considerable investment over recent years, especially in the A&E, Theatres, the Hydrotherapy Pool and of course the Paediatric Centre of Excellence which alone saw £8million invested. I want to work with the Trust to ensure this continues. We need to see more of this type of investment and see an expansion of the services the hospital has to offer.
“Armagh has a seen many of the health services withdrawn back to Craigavon and Dungannon in recent years. Now the Trust plan to close the Gillis Unit in Armagh and they have ‘temporarily’ closed the Minor Injuries Unit at Tower Hill.
“The many people I have spoken to in Armagh don’t believe there is any intention to reopen this service. In addition to the services which have been slashed in Armagh, Loan House in Dungannon is set to be closed and the many families from Armagh who were diverted to this facility will now have to travel to Craigavon or Newry.”
He added: “The fundamental problem remains the same in that the Health Minister has said he is prioritising health care in the community, yet he has cut the budget going to hospitals, putting them under severe pressure. The Minister is expecting more services in the community but not funding them. We have a shortage of GP’s and District Nurses and yet no efforts are being made to recruit and train the staff we need. The Minister and the Department continues to get the fundamentals wrong.
“We had a long but productive meeting. Both Dominic and I along with other colleagues attended a meeting organised by Unison in Newry on Thursday night so we raised many of the issues raised with us by staff who work in health care locally with the Trust’s management and I plan to meet with Paula and her team again in the weeks ahead.”
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