Daisy Hill Hospital’s troubled Emergency Department has been thrown a lifeline with the appointment of a newly-trained ’emergency doctor’.
The appointment has been confirmed by Dr Anne-Marie Telford, who has been heading up the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group.
There had been fears previously that the Emergency Department could be lost to the Newry hospital due to lack of cover.
It was something which sparked widespread public and political anger and led to the formation of the Pathfinder Group to find a way forward.
The appointment of the doctor will come as a great breakthrough.
The news has been welcomed by Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty, who has thanked Dr Telford and her team for all their work to date in seeking a long term sustainable future for the 24/7 service at Daisy Hill’s Emergency Department.
“Dr Telford has been working closely with the Southern Trust, the Chamber of Commerce, the Save Daisy Hill Action Group and the local community to ensure we have a strategic plan in place and the recruitment of staff has been key element of that plan,” said Mr McNulty.
“Daisy Hill is a very important acute hospital in our community and there has been significant investment in infrastructure over the last number of years.
“I am keen to see that investment continue and at the same time a sustained drive must continue to recruit the appropriately qualified staff for the services we need.
“Emergency Departments across these islands have continued to experience difficulties in recruiting emergency doctors and consultants but I firmly believe that Daisy Hill is one of the most appealing places to work with its position on the Eastern Economic Corridor and access to Belfast and Dublin and the AONBs of Gullion and Mourne.
“It is a small but busy hospital with its Emergency Department getting busier. Daisy Hill ED has very strong support from the local community with people power playing a big part in encouraging the Trust to act to recruit and appoint suitably qualified medics.
“Huge credit must also go to the Daisy Hill Action Group and the Newry Chamber of Commerce for their efforts to assist the Trust in the recruitment process.
“I am delighted with the news of this appointment and I understand the new doctor will take up post in January.”
The SDLP representative said the success was “only the beginning” and more emergency doctors needed to be recruited.
He added: “Dr Telford and her team have been very open and engaging with elected representatives throughout the process and with the local community as well.
“I also want to acknowledge the very positive role the local community have played in getting to this stage. Their very strong support for Daisy Hill hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Southern Trust and I believe that their huge support for the Emergency Department played a significant role in Dr Telford and her team being appointed in the first place.
“Their continued support for Daisy Hill will be vital as this process moves forward.”