South Down Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has called on the Health Minister Edwin Poots to put the current changes to the Downe Hospital out to public consultation so that the local community can play an active role in determining which services are appropriate going forward.
Having successfully tabled an adjournment debate concerning the evolving status of emergency care at the Downe, the Sinn Féin MLA stated
‘I took the opportunity to warn the Minister that he must ensure that our local health system is organised in the interests of local people in Down, not officialdom in Belfast.”
“For too long the needs of the community in Down have been subservient to the desires of health officials in the South Eastern Trust in Dundonald. We continue to see vital health services stripped out of the Downe whilst the Ulster Hospital is bursting at the seams.
“Without any productive engagement with political representatives or consultation with the wider public the ongoing downgrading of emergency care at the Downe is undoubtedly putting local lives at risk.
“It is now time for the Health Minister to publish his preferred options for Emergency Care at the Downe and let the people have their say in a thorough and worthwhile consultation process. Moreover the Minister must now illustrate his commitment to ensuring equitable access for all to lifesaving emergency care services in our local communities.”