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‘Devastating proposals’ for health services in Armagh prompt urgent meeting with Trust’s boss

Craigavon Area Hospital

SDLP councillors are to meet with Health Trust Chief Executive Mairead McAlinden and her top team next week to discuss the Southern Trust’s devastating proposals which will see the Gillis Unit at Mullinure Close, Armagh and most services centred on the Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospital sites.

Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon explained: “The proposals launched for public consultation this week by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust are another devastating blow to the provision of health care in the Armagh City and District Area.  This is just the latest in a long line of services being withdrawn from Armagh and people are really fed up, though not surprised, that services are continuously being drawn to the Craigavon Hospital site in particular.’

“It was only back in 2009 that the Southern Trust decided to close the then Mullinure Hospital to relocate the rehabilitation services to Dungannon and we were told this new unit at Gillis was modern facility and was a way of securing health provision on the St Luke’s / Mullinure site.

“Since then the GP Out of Hours Service have been relocated to Tower Hill and even at that they are struggling to get evening and weekend cover.  Now we learn that the trust plan to close the facility at Loane House in Dungannon and transfer all those patients to Craigavon or Daisy Hill. I genuinely fear for the future of what little health provision is left in Armagh City.

“When is the Southern Trust and health service commissioners going to learn that there are populations beyond Craigavon and Newry.  The people in rural isolated communities need health service provision as well.  I fully understand that there needs to be centres of excellence however what ever happened to care in local communities.  We see much of the none-acute provision now also located on the same site as acute hospitals.  It just doesn’t add up.

“Has the trust not learned anything from the mess earlier this year in relation to Accident and Emergency?  They are trying to concentrate too much on an already over developed site, just sit in Accident and Emergency for over twelve hours to see someone not to mention physically getting parked on the Craigavon site.  What is it with the constant drawing back to Craigavon of health services; this is just a devastating blow to health provision locally.’

“The SDLP locally will meet with the Chief Executive and her team next week to discuss their proposals and we would urge an urgent rethink.  This is a bad decision and bad for Armagh.  Our health services are under real pressure and the staff that work in them are at breaking point, surely some common sense needs to be brought to this process before it’s too late.”

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