New Trust chairman shows support for Downe Hospital

New Trust chairman shows support for Downe Hospital

24 July 2019

THE new chairman of the South Eastern Trust Board has accepted that the Downe Hospital plays a key role in the delivery of Northern Ireland health care, according to a local politician.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath met recently with Mr Deep Sagar at the South Eastern Trust’s headquarters in Dundonald where the duo were joined by the organisation’s acting chief executive, Seamus McGoran.

Mr McGrath said he met with the senior officials to reiterate his support for the Downpatrick hospital which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Describing the meeting with the senior health officials as “constructive and positive”, Mr McGrath outlined the importance of the health trust’s continued support for the Downe.

“Mr Sagar accepted the need for local health services and the integral part that the Downe plays in the overall network of hospital services in the North,” said the MLA.

“He also acknowledged the contribution that the staff at the Downe make to the wellbeing of people in our area.”

Mr McGrath said that during the recent meeting, he emphasised that the Downpatrick hospital is capable of more development and additional service delivery.

He said: “The Downe is an important employer in our area and one that must continue to offer well-paid and permanent posts.

“I want to see the hospital’s 24-hour A&E service reinstated and hope that this item will be placed on the new trust board chairman’s agenda. I hope Mr Sagar will be able to deliver this model of care which was previously provided at the Downe,” continued Mr McGrath.

“Mr Sagar said he will visit the hospital and meet staff to get a first hand flavour of the services that can be offered and the excellent work currently taking place.”

The £64m hospital opened its doors for business on June 28, 2009, after several decades’ of campaigning for a new-build to replace the old Victorian hospital at Pound Lane which had long since passed its sell-by-date.

A number of new services have been introduced over recent years including a cataract service, Trust-wide bowel cancer screening and sexual health services, midwifery-led unit, virtual fracture clinic and enhanced care at home service.

Most recently, the widely acclaimed cataract service was named as one of three new regional elective care centres in the Province for cataract surgery, with the Downpatrick hospital at the forefront of a new model of care.

The new cataract service is designed to significantly reduce surgery waiting lists, with the new consultant-led, elective care centre providing routine day surgery procedures at an enhanced outpatient department.

It will be evaluated on performance, quality, service user and staff experience, productivity and overall value for money, with final decisions on permanent elective care centre locations subject to public consultations and ministerial approval.