Daisy Hill Hospital could lose its around-the-clock emergency cover as the Southern Trust struggles to fill senior roles.
The Trust admitted they are struggling to fill vacancies for permanent senior emergency medicine doctors at the hospital and as a result, staffing the emergency department “remains a significant challenge”.
Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Gillian Fitzpatrick hit out at the Trust’s recruitment policy.
“You cannot find replacement doctors and consultants?” she said.
“Maybe if you promote our hospitals and district in a more positive manner then the recruitment process won’t be so difficult!
“Go look again at your recruitment process, go ensure you are selling our district better. Come ask the council to help you market your recruitment drive. We need the doctors, so we can help you. Don’t sell us short just because the trust can’t sell the jobs well!!
“We can help do that, we as a district have a right to proper care, we have the best nurses and doctors in our hospitals, we just need more of them.”
A Southern Trust spokesperson said: “The national shortage of appropriately trained emergency doctors means that the recruitment and retention of senior medical staff required to safely sustain the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill hospital on a 24/7 basis, remains a significant challenge.”
“For some time now, we have been relying extensively on locum doctors to keep the Daisy Hill Emergency Department open overnight.
“Ensuring the delivery of safe, high quality care to our patients is and always will be our focus and our senior management team meets regularly to review the Emergency Department staffing situation.”