MP condemns 'double standard' NHS

MP condemns 'double standard' NHS

SOUTH Down MP Chris Hazzard has accused the health service of “double standards” and called for the South Eastern Trust to be instructed to work with local people in the planning and delivery of services at the Downe Hospital.

The MP wants the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health to order local health officials to follow the example of their counterparts at the Southern Health Trust who work alongside local people on service provision at Newry’s Daisy Hill hospital.

The MP said there is a “growing trust” between health officials and the community in the Newry area and it is clear that local voices have now been given a decisive say in the future of Daisy Hill.

“The constructive nature of this consultation now raises serious allegations of double standards when set against the failure of the South Eastern Trust to consult on recent changes and closures at the Downe Hospital,” he declared.

“The removal of 24-hour A&E services and the dedicated coronary care ward from the Downe in recent times has been done without any consultation or equality impact assessment and absolutely no say given to the local community.”

Mr Hazzard explained health officials in the southern end of the constituency are engaging with the community in their area about hospital services and insists their counterparts in
the South Eastern Trust — which is responsible for the Downe — should do likewise.

He has also urged both health trusts to work “collaboratively and constructively” to deliver equitable health services for patients across South Down, providing a fit for purpose health service for local people.

Mr Hazzard also confirmed he is seeking extensive consultation into ongoing service reduction at the Downpatrick hospital and the
probe must include an equality impact assessment of the loss of the key services.

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He added: ”The best way to do that is to immediately launch a full and extensive consultation into the ongoing reduction of services at the Downe, including an equality impact assessment. This would be nothing more than what has been promised to Southern Trust patients so should be equally available to those patients being negatively impacted in the South Eastern Trust area.”