Concern has been voiced that Craigavon Hospital’s Emergency Department may be overwhelmed despite a £1m contingency fund in the event Daisy Hill Hospital may be forced to close.
Last Thursday the Southern Health Trust Board approved the cash boost to ‘increase capacity at Craigavon ED’ and cope with ‘an additional flow of patients’ should the ED in Daisy Hill hospital have to be temporarily suspended at night.”
Last week it transpired that overnight closures at Daisy Hill may be unavoidable due to staffing issues. This led to concern that numbers travelling to Craigavon may overload an already busy department.
A Trust spokesperson said of Daisy Hill: “As the service remains vulnerable at night due to the shortage of permanent senior medical staff, contingency arrangements will be outlined to ensure patients can continue to access safe, high quality care in the unfortunate event that medical cover could not be secured for more than one night. Therefore, the Board will be asked to approve preparations in Craigavon Area Hospital to accommodate an additional flow of patients should the service in Daisy Hill be temporarily suspended at night. This would be a last resort.”
However, SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said: “The additional funding awarded to Craigavon Area Hospital is critical, not for taking on patients from other hospitals but for dealing with current patient demand.
“A surge in A&E numbers at Craigavon Area Hospital would stretch services even further, resulting in longer waiting lists and poorer outcomes for patients. Our health services are in need of urgent investment. That should focus minds in the current talks.”