Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has reacted angrily to recent developments in the South Eastern Health Trust that has seen local patients and staff left worried that vital Accident & Emergency services will be removed from the Downe Hospital.
Following an emergency meeting in Down District Council this evening, the South Down MLA has said:
“With no consultation with public representatives, staff, patients or the wider local community, the South Eastern Trust continues to hide behind closed doors in relation to the proposed cuts to the A&E services at the Downe in Downpatrick.
“We have not been presented with facts or figures, or reasoned explanations as to why A&E’s doors may shut in a few days’ time, indeed the only information the public is privy to at present is rumours regarding the availability of doctors.
“The Minister for Health Edwin Poots and South Eastern Trust officials must present the need for change to the public in South Down – they must have the courage of their convictions to consult with our local community.
“People in Downpatrick tonight are rightly annoyed and angry at this situation – some have even described the actions of the HealthTrust officials as ‘cowardly’ – I don’t think many would disagree at this stage.
The local MLA has also now contacted the Health Committee at Stormont requesting help in ensuring the proposed cuts are reversed:
“I have written to the Chair of the Stormont Health Committee in an effort to halt this process over the Christmas recess and I have asked the Health Committee to meet with the Minister and the South Eastern Trust as a matter of urgency.”