Physician appointments in Downe are welcomed

Physician appointments in Downe are welcomed

22 August 2018

EXPANSION of staff and facilities at the Downe Hospital has been welcomed by former South Down MP Margaret Ritchie.

Ms Ritchie, who is continuing to push for better services to be provided at the Downe, said she had been informed of two new physicians due to start at the hospital.

“Following correspondence with the chief executive of the South Eastern Health and Social Services Trust regarding the need for better investment in terms of services at the Downe Hospital, I have been informed of the following good news,” she said.

“The Trust has appointed two new physicians to the Downe who are due to start early October 2018.   

“The Trust has also a number of Ulster based Consultants providing consultant cover to the Downe Hospital for the next 12 months while they continue their pursuit of more permanent staff, which I hope won’t be impacted upon due to Brexit. These consultants will operate on a two-weekly basis within a one in eight rota.

“The Trust is also focusing on the further expansion of the Frail Elderly Rapid Assessment Service which has been working well and the Trust hopes through transformation funding to grow the service and take on a wider range of day cases.”

Miss Ritchie continued: “The Trust chief executive has also informed me that with regards to outpatient services they can confirm that they continue to enhance specialist services. 

“There is capital work commencing in September to increase clinic space to accommodate the Regional Ophthalmology Service. This will commence in April 2019 and will bring new patients to the Downe from right across Northern Ireland.

“I have also been told that significant numbers of Ulster based consultants are now undertaking specialist outpatient clinics in the Downe across the full range of specialities.

“The Trust agrees with me that the Downe Hospital can be a significant part of the solution to the waiting list challenge, but they are awaiting clear strategic direction and elective funding from the Health and Social Care Board and the Department of Health.

“This is constrained by the absence of an Executive and a Health Minister to make the very important decisions regarding elective developments.”

Miss Ritchie added: “Progress is being made to sustain and enhance safe and wide ranging service services on the Downe Hospital site which is of value importance to local people in accessing health and medical services.

“Much more could be provided if there was an Executive and Minister for Health in place to provide strategic direction and funding. 

“Political action is now required to get those political institutions based on partnership and reconciliation up and running as quickly as possible.

“The Day Procedure Unit in the Downe is almost at full capacity with a recent increase in urology.”