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South Armagh community being ‘cut off from essential health care services’

Reduction in GP services in Crossmaglen ‘is only the thin edge of the wedge’, as MLA warns that action needs to be taken.

SDLP representatives Dominic Bradley MLA and Councillor Geraldine Donnelly have expressed their deep concern about the future provision of health care in South Armagh and have called for urgent action by the Health and Social Care Board, the Southern Trust and the Department of Health.

“This week we learn of the devastating news that we are to see a reduction in GP services in Crossmaglen and I the fear this is only the thin edge of the wedge,” said Mr Bradley.

“We need to see an urgent round table discussion with all the stakeholders involved and this needs to happen as a matter or urgency.

“South Armagh is a vast area and we are constantly seeing health care provision under threat. The people of this area deserve a quality health service and at present that just isn’t happening.

“This weeks development is not about finance, it’s about manpower or the lack of it. The system is at breaking point and we need to see urgent action before it’s too late.

“We cannot have rural communities in South Armagh cut off from essential health care services and we need to see intervention from the Minister to ensure this does not happen.”

SDLP Councillor Geraldine Donnelly added: “This is devastating news and just shows the pressure our health care system is under. GP services are the first point of call when anyone is sick and for vast areas of South Armagh to be left without that provision is a very concerning development.

“In South Armagh we are a rural, isolated community and we have seen the constant withdrawal and closure of essential services in education, health, transport and other front line services, we need to see government work together and protect essential services in this community.

“The GP’s and Nursing Teams in Crossmaglen offer an outstanding service to the local community, they go beyond what you find in other communities.

“They step in to help were others are failing. The slow response times for ambulances and rapid response vehicles is a major issue for this community and yet in this area it’s often the GP who will respond to an emergency first.’

“We need a fundamental review of Heath Care in South Armagh, it needs more support not less. This community deserves better.”

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