A major investment has been confirmed to secure the future of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.
It will include the development of a new £1 million admissions and assessment unit on site.
This will be located next to the Emergency Department to help ensure patients arriving at Daisy Hill receive the most appropriate care and treatment.
Thanks to what has been described as a “meaningful partnership between the local community, workforce and the health and social care system”, the Department of Health has confirmed details of a package as part of a long-term plan for the future.
It will sustain and bolster urgent and emergency care at the Newry hospital.
It includes an initial £650,000 this year from the Department’s health and social care transformation fund.
And the £1 million capital funding allocation this year for the admissions and assessment unit comes from the Southern Trust, to “improve infrastructure at the hospital site”.
Last year, the Southern Trust highlighted difficulties in maintaining a safe and sustainable Emergency Department service at Daisy Hill, due to difficulties in staffing a viable consultant rota.
This led to the establishment of the Daisy Hill Hospital Pathfinder Group (DHHPG) as a mechanism for engagement with the local workforce and community to develop a viable response to the situation.
The Pathfinder Group’s work has led to the investment package confirmed today (Monday).
Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “Co-production is much more than just a buzzword in health and social care.
“It means working step by step with those who deliver and use services to build for the future by sharing the evidence about how best to meet the healthcare needs of local populations and taking the right decisions for the right reasons.
“Today’s Daisy Hill Hospital announcement shows co-production in action – and delivering for everyone.
“Great credit and thanks must go to the Pathfinder Group, and to the workforce and community representatives who have helped make this happen.”
Southern Trust chief executive Shane Devlin added: “We are delighted that today investment to support urgent care in the Newry and Mourne area has been confirmed by the Department. This is the first stage of a viable long-term plan.
“All of us involved in the Pathfinder process wanted the same thing – a service that would be sustainable for years to come.
“The support, engagement and enthusiasm of the local community, working alongside our staff, has been key to helping us to firstly secure local services, and to then work with us to develop a plan that will transform our services to meet the specific needs of the local population.
“We have developed a model for services that reflects what the local community needs – and the support of the Department of Health shows their confidence in this ground-breaking process.”
The £650,000 investment involves: transforming and modernising services for patient assessment, diagnostics, discharge and care in the community; strengthening primary care and links between primary and secondary care; diversifying and strengthening the workforce; ensuring that the existing hospital-based services are secured; and investing in the leadership at Daisy Hill Hospital through the appointment of a new director for the hospital.
Thanks to the Southern Trust’s £1 million capital investment a new admissions and assessment unit will be established alongside the Emergency Department.
This will help ensure attending patients receive the most appropriate care and treatment.